UPDATE 1-Brazil monthly inflation slows in mid-September as food prices fall
(Adds table, data, background) BRASILIA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Brazil's monthly inflation rate slowed in mid-September as food prices fell but annual inflation remained unchanged and far above the government's target. Brazil's IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 0.39 percent in the month to mid-September, down from 0.43 in the previous month, government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday. The index had been expected to rise 0.38 percent, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll. Inflation in the 12-month period to mid-September remained at 9.57 percent, matching that of mid-August, running at more than double the government's 4.5 percent target. The annual inflation rate is expected to fall sharply early next year, cooled by Brazil's worst recession in 25 years and the central bank hiking its benchmark interest rate to 14.25 percent. Food prices fell 0.06 percent in the month to mid-September, down from an increase of 0.45 percent in mid-August, as plentiful crops reduced prices of fresh vegetables. Airfares and cooking fuel rose sharply though, preventing inflation from slowing faster. Inflation in Latin America's largest economy spiked after President Dilma Rousseff authorized increases in utility rates and other government-set prices following her re-election. Economists have feared another inflation bout in coming months as a political and economic crisis weakened Brazil's currency to an all-time low, raising import prices. The central bank signaled it could tighten monetary policy further if inflation expectations rise significantly again. Below is the result for each price category: mid-August mid-September - Food and beverages 0.45 -0.06 - Housing 1.02 0.68 - Household articles 0.73 0.36 - Apparel 0.01 0.36 - Transport -0.46 0.78 - Health and personal care 0.83 0.50 - Personal expenses 0.73 0.51 - Education 0.78 0.24 - Communication 0.11 0.01 - IPCA-15 0.43 0.39 (Reporting by Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)
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