Brazil’s central bank raised its benchmark rate for the first time since July 2011, as policy makers seek to slow inflation levels jeopardizing an economic recovery.
The bank’s board, led by President Alexandre Tombini, voted 6-to-2 to increase the Selic rate 25 basis points to 7.50 percent from a record low, matching the median forecast from 58 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Policy makers said that “the high level of inflation” and “resilience of inflation” required a response, which was tempered by the central bank’s recognition that “external uncertainties” also required “that monetary policy be managed with caution,” according to the board’s statement posted on Banco Central do Brasil’s website.
President Dilma Rousseff’s government is facing renewed pressure to contain consumer prices after annual inflation in March breached the central bank’s target range for the first time since November 2011. Rising prices are sapping purchasing power and eroding demand even after officials cut taxes on consumer goods and lowered the Selic to 7.25 percent in October. Retail sales in February fell for the second time in three months.