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BRASILIA, March 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank kept interest rates at 14.25 percent for the fifth straight time on Wednesday, opting to avoid inflicting more harm on an economy struggling with its worst recession in decades despite a spike in inflation.
In a split vote, the bank's monetary policy committee, known as Copom, decided to keep its benchmark Selic rate steady at a near-decade high, as expected by an overwhelming majority of analysts and traders. Two of the Copom's eight members voted to hike rates by 50 basis points. (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by James Dalgleish)