UPDATE 1-Brazil's inflation slows less than expected in mid-April
(Adds data, table) BRASILIA, April 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's 12-month inflation rate extended its decline in mid-April after the government cut electricity rates, but the drop was smaller than expected as food prices jumped. Brazil's IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 9.34 percent in the 12 months through mid-April, slowing from an increase of 9.95 percent in mid-March, government statistics agency IBGE said on Wednesday. Prices rose 0.51 percent in mid-April from mid-March , the IBGE added. The index had been expected to rise 0.47 percent, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll after an increase of 0.43 in the previous month. Brazil's inflation has slowed in 2016 as the country's deep recession entered a second year with recovery not yet in sight. The central bank has kept interest rates at 14.25 percent , the highest levels since 2006, in an attempt to bring inflation closer to its 4.5 percent target. The last time Brazil's inflation met the central bank's goal was in August 2010. Electricity rates fell nearly 3 percent in the month to mid-April after the government shut down costlier thermal power stations tapped during a drought that depleted reservoirs at hydroelectric dams. Food prices increased 1.35 percent, mostly from fruits. Brazil's 12-month inflation rate is expected to fall to just above 7 percent by the end of the year, according to a weekly central bank poll of economists. Below is the result for each price category: Mid-April Mid-March - Food and beverages 1.35 0.77 - Housing -0.41 -0.52 - Household articles 0.28 0.88 - Apparel 0.49 0.44 - Transport 0.18 0.45 - Health and personal care 1.23 0.70 - Personal expenses 0.36 0.70 - Education 0.15 0.67 - Communication -0.96 -0.51 - IPCA 0.51 0.43 (Reporting by Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)
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