BRASILIA, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank kept interest rates on hold on Wednesday, backtracking from previous signals it was ready to boost borrowing costs after it was pressured to avoid harming an economy mired in its worst recession in decades.
In a split vote, the bank's eight-member monetary policy board, known as Copom, decided to maintain its benchmark Selic rate at 14.25 percent. Economists were split on the decision after central bank chief Alexandre Tombini signaled on Tuesday that the bank could abandon plans for steep rate hike to support the economy.
The central bank had been under pressure from politicians, business and labor groups to avoid more rate hikes even after inflation topped 10 percent to end 2015 at its highest in 12 years. (Reporting by Alonso Soto and Marcela Ayres; Editing by Dan Grebler)