Brazil's 2016 inflation view rises for 5th week, to 5.58 pct
BRASILIA, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Economists raised their forecasts for Brazil's 2016 inflation rate for a fifth straight week, adding pressure on the central bank after it halted a nine-month-long cycle of interest rates hikes last week, a weekly survey showed on Tuesday. The median forecast of about 100 economists in the central bank poll projected 2016 inflation at 5.58 percent, up from 5.51 percent in the prior week's survey and a target of 4.5 percent. Estimates for economic growth in 2015 and 2016 were revised down in the survey. Brazil's gross domestic product is expected to shrink 2.44 percent in 2015 and 0.50 percent in 2016, in the country's sharpest recession in 25 years. The central bank left its benchmark rate unchanged at 14.25 percent in a rate-setting meeting last week, halting one of the world's most aggressive rate hikes cycles since October. In the statement accompanying the decision, the bank suggested it could resume raising rates if 2016 inflation forecasts drifted significantly away from the official target. (pct) 2015 2016 previous new previous new forecast forecast forecast forecast Consumer inflation 9.28 9.29 5.51 5.58 Exchange rate 3.50 3.60 3.60 3.70 (reais per U.S dollar, end-period) Interest rate 14.25 14.25 12.00 12.00 (end-period) GDP growth -2.26 -2.44 -0.40 -0.50 Industrial output -5.57 -6.00 0.89 0.72 (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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