Bad checks in Brazil jump to 6-yr high as economy slumps

miércoles 22 de julio de 2015 11:32 GYT

SAO PAULO, July 22 (Reuters) - Bounced checks in Brazil rose to their highest level in six years during the first half of 2015, as increased borrowing costs, the fastest inflation in over a decade and a shrinking economy made it harder for consumers to stay in the black, credit research firm Serasa Experian said.

The rate of bounced checks rose to 2.29 percent of cleared checks in the January-to-June period, compared with 2.09 percent a year earlier, Serasa said on Wednesday. On a monthly basis, the level slipped to 2.02 percent in June from 2.29 percent in May, Serasa said.

The highest rate for bounced checks for any first-half was 2.30 percent in 2009, according to Serasa, which began to compile records of the indicator in 1991.

Economists expect Brazil's economy, the largest in Latin America, to shrink this year at the steepest pace in 25 years. Household income is grappling with accelerating inflation and large job losses across the country, which will test the ability of consumers to stay current on their financial obligations, economists said. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Andrew Hay)