UPDATE 1-Brazil's monthly inflation eases in mid-August
(Adds table, background, data) SAO PAULO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Brazil's monthly inflation rate eased in the month to mid-August as the economy moved deeper into what is expected to be its worst recession in 25 years. Brazil's IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 0.43 percent in the month to mid-August as expected by economists in a Reuters poll, slowing from 0.59 percent in the previous month, government statistics agency IBGE said on Friday. Trailing 12-month inflation remained high at 9.57 percent, up from 9.25 percent a month earlier and more than double the official 4.5 percent target. But the decline in the monthly inflation rate, led by a smaller increase in food prices and lower transportation prices, underpinned hopes that Brazil's inflation could finally peak after a steep surge that began late last year. That would be a relief to Brazil's central bank, which is also grappling with a 7.5 percent unemployment rate, the highest in over five years. The bank raised interest rates to 14.25 percent last month, a nine-year high, in a bid to tame inflation expectations for 2016. Electricity prices continued to rise sharply in the month to mid-August, climbing 2.6 percent from the previous month. Water and sewage rates rose 1.39 percent, IBGE said. Inflation in Latin America's largest economy spiked after President Dilma Rousseff hiked utility rates and other government-set prices following her re-election. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators returned to the streets in dozens of Brazilian cities on Aug. 16 to call for her impeachment, blaming her for a vast corruption scandal and the economy's worst slump in a quarter century. Below is the result for each price category: Aug July - Food and beverages 0.45 0.64 - Housing 1.02 1.15 - Household articles 0.73 0.47 - Apparel 0.01 -0.06 - Transport -0.46 0.14 - Health and personal care 0.83 0.80 - Personal expenses 0.73 0.83 - Education 0.78 0.10 - Communication 0.11 0.59 - IPCA-15 0.43 0.59 (Reporting by Asher Levine Editing by; W Simon)
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