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SAO PAULO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Bounced checks in Brazil rose in the first seven months to the highest level in six years, as rising borrowing costs, the fastest inflation in over a decade and a weakening economy made it harder for consumers to stay current, credit research firm Serasa Experian said on Tuesday.
The ratio of bounced checks rose to 2.29 percent of cleared checks in the January-to-July period, compared with 2.11 percent a year earlier, Serasa said. On a monthly basis, the ratio climbed from 2.29 percent in July, the highest for the months since at least 1991, Serasa said.
Economists expect Brazil's economy, the largest in Latin America, to shrink this year at the steepest pace in over two decades. Households are grappling with accelerating inflation and large job losses across the country, which will test the ability of consumers to service their obligations, economists said. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal Editing by W Simon)