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(Updates with computer glitch in first paragraph.)
Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s statistics agency said a computer glitch has caused releases of key economic data onto the Internet earlier than scheduled since May and that the information has been accessed more than a thousand times.
It’s not known who saw the data and whether they used them to trade, said David Wu Tai, head of the center for documentation and dissemination of information at the Rio de Janeiro-based statistics agency, known as IBGE. The fault was discovered yesterday after an unidentified journalist alerted the agency, and it has been fixed, he said.
When computer systems were changed earlier this year, an old data base mistakenly continued to update economic indicators on the evening before they were supposed to be published at 9 a.m., Wu Tai said. The releases usually came after 6 p.m., when markets in Brazil close, limiting the possibility of trading on the information, he said.
“This leak is very negative,” said Jankiel Santos, chief economist at Espirito Santo Investment Bank in Sao Paulo, in a telephone interview last night. “It gives room to the interpretation that someone in the market was operating with privileged information.”
Consumer prices rose 0.43 percent in October, the statistics agency said in the e-mail. That’s in line with the 0.42 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 49 analysts. The IPCA rose 6.97 percent in October from a year ago, above the 6.5 percent upper limit of the central bank’s target range for the seventh straight month, the IBGE said today. The October number is down from 7.31 percent in September.
Yields for interest rate futures contracts due January 2013 declined two basis point, or 0.02 percentage point, to 9.98 percent at 9:00 a.m. New York time. The real gained 0.4 percent to 1.7541 per dollar.
The national construction index rose 0.38 percent last month, while industrial employment fell 0.4 percent in September, the statistics agency also said.
Central bank President Alexandre Tombini cut the benchmark interest rate a half point for a second straight meeting last month, to 11.5 percent, to protect Brazil from turmoil in world markets.
The bank, in the minutes to its Oct. 18-19 meeting, said that consumer price inflation peaked last quarter, and it sees “declining risks” of missing its 4.5 percent target in 2012.
Slowing Growth, Expectations
The economy has shown signs of cooling, mostly in the manufacturing sector. Brazil’s industrial production fell 2 percent in September, the biggest drop since April and the second-largest since a 12 percent plunge following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008.
Economists cut their 2011 growth forecast for a fifth straight week in a Nov. 4 central bank survey of about 100 economists.
Latin America’s biggest economy will expand 3.2 percent this year, down from a forecast of 3.29 percent the previous week, according to the median forecast in the survey. Analysts held their 2012 growth estimate at 3.5 percent.
Signs of slowing consumer demand have remained mixed. Average real wages fell 1.8 percent in September from the previous month to 1,607.60 reais ($913) a month, according to the national statistics agency. Still, retail sales rebounded in September after a slump in August, rising 0.6 percent.
Economists expect policy makers to lower borrowing costs a further half-point next month to shore up economic growth, and to 10.50 percent by the end of 2012, the survey of economists found.
Credit is still expanding at a faster rate than the central bank says it would prefer. Outstanding credit rose 2.1 percent to 1.93 trillion reais ($1.1 trillion) in September, after a 1.8 percent increase in August, the central bank said in a report distributed Oct. 26 in Brasilia.
Credit expanded 19.6 percent from a year earlier, above the bank’s preferred 17 percent pace.
Consumer demand may be supported by rising wages as unions negotiate next year’s salary increases.
Workers at state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s largest publicly traded company, are demanding a 10 percentage-point increase above inflation and better safety at platforms and refineries, the union said Nov. 8.
--With assistance from Felipe Frisch in Sao Paulo. Editors: Harry Maurer, Philip Sanders
To contact the reporters on this story: Arnaldo Galvao in Brasilia Newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org; Alexander Ragir in Rio de Janeiro at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.