Brazil inflation tops nine percent

Brasilia, Aug 8 (IANS) Consumer prices in Brazil rose 0.62 percent in July, pushing the year-to-date figure to 6.83 percent and the 12-month rate to 9.56 percent, the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE) reported.

The inter-annual inflation rate is the highest since November 2003, when the figure stood at 11.02 percent, Efe quoted IBGE as saying.

The agency said inflation eased a bit in July after a 0.79 percent increase in June.

Inflation has become a major concern for the government of President Dilma Rousseff, which has responded to surging prices and budgetary red ink with an austerity package that includes deep cuts in public spending.

The fiscal measures are complemented by a tight-money policy that has raised the benchmark interest rate to 14.25 percent.

Brazil’s economy is forecast to shrink by between 1.5 percent and two percent this year.

Successive Brazilian administrations have sought to keep inflation within a range of 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent, but the central bank acknowledges that it may reach nine percent by the end of 2015.

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