Tags: World Cup | soccer | inflation | Brazil

World Cup Pushes Brazilian Inflation Above Analyst Forecasts

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:57 AM

Brazil’s consumer prices in the month through mid-June rose more than economists forecast, as the World Cup boosted prices for flights, hotels and tours.

Inflation as measured by the benchmark IPCA-15 index decelerated to 0.47 percent from 0.58 percent the prior month, the national statistics agency said on its website today. That was faster than the 0.42 percent median estimate from 38 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Flight price increases accounted for nine basis points of this month’s inflation, the biggest single contribution.

After the longest rate-raising cycle in the world, the central bank in May held the Selic unchanged even as inflation continued accelerating toward the top of the government’s target range. Finance Minister Guido Mantega said in April that the month-long soccer tournament would produce a temporary quickening of inflation.

“The most important story is that we can have some inflation pressures on the back of the World Cup,” said Roberto Padovani, chief economist at Votorantim Ctvm Ltda, by telephone from Sao Paulo. “It’s fair to say the World Cup is reinforcing the hiking trend that we’re seeing in inflation.”

Swap rates on the contract due in January 2017 rose one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 11.58 percent at 12:10 a.m. local time. The real strengthened 0.3 percent to 2.2544 per U.S. dollar.

Hotels, Tours

Hotel prices rose 4.1 percent in the month through mid-June, marking the biggest increase since records began in 2000, according to the IBGE’s press office. The price of tours rose 5.3 percent and the cost of flights jumped 22.2 percent.

Price increases during the World Cup would be normal due to higher demand, while fares would fall afterward, Mantega told Agencia Estado in April.

Today’s data reinforce the perception that the inflation trend is not as favorable as government officials have said, according to Flavio Serrano, senior economist at Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento. Core inflation was 0.6 percent, he said.

“We have been seeing some deceleration, but basically driven by foodstuff prices,” Serrano said by phone from Sao Paulo.

Food and beverage prices rose 0.21 percent in the month through mid-June, down from 0.88 percent in the prior month. Personal expenses rose 1.09 percent after a 0.51 percent gain in May, the statistics agency said. Transport prices rose 0.5 after a 0.33 percent decline the prior month, it said.

Slipping Lead

Annual inflation quickened to 6.41 percent from 6.31 percent the prior month, above the median estimate of 6.35 percent. Policy makers target 4.5 percent inflation, plus or minus two percentage points. Consumer confidence last month plunged to the lowest level in more than five years, according to data published by the Getulio Vargas Foundation.

Inflation near the ceiling of the government’s target range is crimping consumers’ purchasing power ahead of the October presidential election and reducing incumbent Dilma Rousseff’s lead.

Rousseff’s lead over opposition candidate Aecio Neves narrowed to 16 percentage points in May from 27 percentage points in March, according to polls conducted by public opinion research company Ibope on June 4-7 and March 13-17, respectively. Each poll surveyed 2,002 people and had a margin of error of two percentage points.

Reduced Forecasts

Economists surveyed weekly by the central bank forecast inflation will reach 6.46 percent by year-end. They reduced their forecast for 2014 economic growth in Latin America’s largest economy to 1.24 percent, following 2.5 percent expansion last year.

“The expansion of domestic activity tends to be less intense in comparison with 2013,” according to the minutes of the central bank’s May meeting, when policy makers held the Selic at 11 percent following 3.75 percentage points of tightening in the year through April.

Today’s data will add pressure on the central bank to raise rates before October, according to Neil Shearing, chief emerging-markets economist at Capital Economics Ltd.

“We had the signal last month that rates are likely to remain unchanged until elections are out of the way, and I still think that’s the most likely scenario,” Shearing said by phone from London. “But it’s possible inflation is going to be out of the target range next month, and that’s going to test the resolve of the central bank.”

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Brazil's consumer prices in the month through mid-June rose more than economists forecast, as the World Cup boosted prices for flights, hotels and tours.
World Cup, soccer, inflation, Brazil
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:57 AM
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