(Recasts, adds inflation data and context)
BRASILIA, July 21 (Reuters) - Annual inflation in Brazil rose faster than expected in mid-July as food prices soared, official data showed on Thursday, reinforcing expectations that the central bank will wait longer before cutting interest rates.
Consumer prices, as measured by the IPCA-15 index, rose 8.93 percent in the 12 months through mid-July, down from 8.98 percent in the year through mid-June but above market expectations of 8.84 percent, statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday.
Prices rose 0.54 percent from mid-June to mid-July, above the median forecast of 0.46 percent in a Reuters poll and accelerating from 0.40 percent in the previous month.
A sharp increase in food and transportation inflation from June pushed up the IPCA-15 index, offsetting slower inflation of clothing, housing and healthcare.
After keeping its benchmark Selic rate steady at 14.25 percent on Wednesday, the central bank said high short-term inflation pressured by food prices was a risk to meeting its goal of lowering inflation to 4.50 percent in 2017. (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)