CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Brazil central bank warns new rate hikes if prices drift from target

jueves 6 de agosto de 2015 10:12 GYT
 

(Corrects Selic rate in 3rd paragraph to 14.25 pct)

By Silvio Cascione and Alonso Soto

BRASILIA Aug 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank will remain vigilant in case inflation forecasts drift significantly away from its target, it said on Thursday in a clear warning it could raise interest rates again.

In the minutes of last week's rate-setting meeting, the bank said progress in its fight against inflation showed monetary policy was going in the right direction. It has promised to halve inflation next year.

The central bank last week raised its benchmark Selic rate by 50 basis points for the sixth straight time, to 14.25 percent, but signaled it was halting the aggressive monetary tightening cycle.

The bank in the minutes affirmed the tightening pause, saying policymakers need perseverance and determination to lower inflation.

"The bank set itself a relatively high bar to raise interest rates again," said Rodrigo Melo, chief economist with Icatu Vanguarda.

A shaper depreciation of the Brazilian real could raise pressure on the bank to hike rates again to keep inflation expectations anchored, analysts said. So far this year, the real has weakened more than 24 percent against the U.S. dollar.

Yields in Brazil's interest rate futures rose across the board early on Thursday, indicating market traders see a greater chance that policymakers would raise rates again in September.

Brazil's inflation slowed in the month to mid-July as the economy heads into deep recession, but the trailing 12-month rate remained high at 9.25 percent. (Additional reporting by Anthony Boadle; Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Von Ahn)