UPDATE 2-Brazil central bank signals more interest rate hikes

jueves 6 de noviembre de 2014 08:26 GYT

(Adds fresh analyst comments and context)

By Alonso Soto and Silvio Cascione

BRASILIA Nov 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank has signaled it could keep raising interest rates as board members agreed inflation risks were rising despite fears that the economy could remain stagnant.

In the minutes of its last rate-setting meeting released on Thursday, the central bank said it would remain especially vigilant in the battle against persistently high inflation.

In a split vote last week, the central bank surprised markets by raising its benchmark Selic rate by 25 basis points to 11.25 percent, a move that many interpreted as a sign newly re-elected President Dilma Rousseff would adopt more market-friendly policies.

The dissenting voters said they wanted to keep rates on hold for the moment because of uncertainty about the impact price adjustments could have on inflation.

However, they agreed with the majority that inflation risks had increased since the September meeting due to a rise in some government-administered prices like electricity and to currency depreciation.

"If someone still thought that the 25 (basis point) rate hike was an isolated event, then the minutes prove that is not the case," said economist Enestor dos Santos of BBVA in Madrid. "This is the start of a rate hiking cycle."

Dos Santos said the pace of future rate hikes would depend on whether the government can keep a lid on public spending and on the magnitude of the currency depreciation. The real has slid 11 percent since September, raising the cost of imports.   Continuación...