UPDATE 1-Brazil inflation up less than expected in mid-April reading
(Adds table, market reaction) By Silvio Cascione BRASILIA, April 17 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Brazil rose less than expected in the month to mid-April, strengthening bets on the end of a year-long campaign of interest rate hikes by the central bank. The IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 6.19 percent in the 12 months through mid-April, below the median of analysts' forecasts for an increase of 6.26 percent, government statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday. Yields on interest rate futures <0#2DIJ:> dropped across the board as traders pared bets on another interest rate increase in May. Brazil's central bank has jacked up its benchmark Selic interest rate since April last year to battle inflation, but has signaled it could stay on hold going forward as it waits for the "lagged" effects of recent rate increases. The government targets inflation at 4.5 percent with a tolerance margin of 2 percentage points in either direction. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.78 percent in mid-April, slowing from a rise of 0.85 percent one month before. Food prices jumped 1.84 percent from mid-March as insufficient rain hurt crops. Below is the result for each price category: April March - Food and beverages 1.84 1.11 - Housing 0.58 0.44 - Household articles 0.24 0.60 - Apparel 0.37 0.19 - Transport 0.54 1.22 - Health and personal care 0.69 0.46 - Personal expenses 0.50 0.78 - Education 0.14 0.53 - Communication -0.61 -0.66 - IPCA-15 0.78 0.73 (Reporting by Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)
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