UPDATE 3-Brazil keeps interest rates steady ahead of election
(Adds analysts' comments and context)
By Alonso Soto
BRASILIA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Brazil held interest rates steady for a third straight time on Wednesday, signaling it is in no rush to help an economy that fell into recession just weeks before a heated presidential election.
The central bank's monetary policy committee, known as Copom, unanimously decided to keep its benchmark Selic rate at 11 percent, as had been widely expected by both the market and analysts.
In a statement, the central bank said it evaluated the economic and inflation outlook to make its decision, but removed the phrase "at this moment," which analysts interpreted as a sign that policymakers will leave rates steady for some time.
"The removal of that phrase reinforces the signal the bank gave in the previous minutes that it will not cut rates in the short term despite weak economic activity," said Alberto Ramos, an economist with Goldman Sachs in New York.
The bank has said its past rate hikes will take some time to take full effect on inflation, which remains at the 6.5 percent ceiling of the official target.
Pressure on the bank to support an economy that has struggled to grow since 2011 increased after data showed last week that Brazil slipped into recession early in 2014 for the first time in five years.
The bank has eased reserve requirements to bolster credit, but kept interest rates at more than two-year highs to counter high inflation and avoid any criticism of undue intervention before a presidential vote in October. Continuación...