Bloomberg News

Brazil Economists Raise 2012 CPI Forecast for Second Week

June 20, 2011

(Updates to add details of report in second paragraph.)

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Economists covering the Brazil raised their 2012 inflation forecast for a second week, as they expect wage increases to reignite inflation next year.

Consumer prices will rise 5.18 percent next year, according to the median forecast in a June 17 central bank survey of about 100 economists published today. That’s up from a 5.13 percent median estimate in the previous week’s survey. The economists cut their prediction for 2011 inflation, as measured by the IPCA index, to 6.18 percent from 6.19 percent, the survey found.

“Even with an improvement in the short term, inflation is going to get worse,” said Flavio Serrano, senior economist at Espirito Santo Investment Bank in Sao Paulo. “The job market is showing no signs of cooling.”

Brazil’s central bank increased borrowing costs for a fourth consecutive meeting this month, raising its benchmark lending rate a quarter-point to 12.25 percent. In the minutes to the meeting, published June 16, policy makers said the inflation outlook is “more favorable” than it was in April, while warning of a “very important risk” caused by a tight labor market.

Brazilian workers are demanding bigger wage increases as the nation’s unemployment rate fell in April to 6.4 percent, the lowest level on record for the month.

Upper Limit

The bank has signaled it is prepared to raise rates further this year to cool inflation that exceeded the upper limit of the government’s target range in April and May.

Analysts expect the interest rate to end the year at 12.50 percent, before falling to 12.25 percent by the end of 2012, the same prediction as in last week’s survey.

Consumer prices rose 6.55 percent in the year through May, the fastest pace in six years. The central bank aims to slow inflation back to the midpoint of its target in 2012. The government targets inflation of 4.5 percent, plus or minus two percentage points.

Economists held their forecast for 2011 economic growth at 3.96 percent and their 2012 growth forecast at 4.10 percent, from 4.1 percent.

Economic activity, a proxy for gross domestic product, rose 0.44 percent in April from the previous month, according to the central bank’s seasonally adjusted index, down from 0.51 percent in March.

--With assistance from Dominic Carey in Sao Paulo. Editors: Harry Maurer, Andre Soliani

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Bristow in Brasilia at mbristow5@bloomberg.net Alexander Ragir in Rio de Janeiro at aragir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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