Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brazil holds rate, but 2 Copom members want 50 bps hike

    Brazil's central bank left its benchmark Selic rate steady at 14.25 percent but two members of the eight-member policy committee Copom voted to raise the rate by 50 basis points, a sign the rate may be raised at the next meeting in January 2016.
    The Central Bank of Brazil, which halted its tightening campaign in July after raising the rate by 700 basis points since April 2013, said Copom members Sidnei Correa Marques and Tony Volpon had voted to raise the rate to 14.75 percent while the other six members, including Chairman Alexandre Tombini, voted to retain the rate.
    In a brief statement, the central bank said Copom had decided to maintain the rate in light of the "macroeconomic scenario and the outlook for inflation," omitting last month's reference to maintaining the rate for "a sufficiently long period" to reach its inflation goal.
     However, in its October statement, the central bank said that it would be "vigilant" in achieving its inflation goal.
    Since halting its tightening campaign in July, Brazil's inflation rate has continued to accelerate, hitting 10.28 percent in mid-November - a 12-year high - from 9.93 in October and 9.56 percent in July.
    The central bank's Nov. 16 survey of economists showed that they expect inflation to end this year at 10.04 percent before easing to 6.5 percent next year, up from the previous survey of 9.99 percent inflation for this year and 6.47 percent for 2016.
    But while inflation has risen, Brazil's economy is in recession with Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter contracting by 1.9 percent following a 0.7 percent fall in the first quarter. On an annual basis, GDP shrank by 2.6 percent, the fifth quarter in a row of declining output.
    The central bank targets inflation at a midpoint of 4.50 percent, within a 2.50 percent to 6.50 percent range, and has pledged to reach its inflation goal by late 2016.
    Brazil's real has been depreciating since September 2014 but has firmed since late September. Today the real was trading at 3.74 to the U.S. dollar, down 28.9 percent this year.


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