BRASILIA, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Inflation in Brazil has eased, but more needs to be done for the government to meet its inflation target next year, central bank chief Ilan Goldfajn said in an interview with a Brazilian daily, signaling policymakers could keep interest rates high for some time.
In an interview with Estado de S.Paulo published on Friday, Goldfajn said both the market’s and the bank’s own inflation forecasts have dropped.
“We would like for a quicker pace of (disinflation) in 2017 in order to reach the 4.5 percent center of the target (range),” he said. “It is advancing, but there is work left to be done.”
For next year the official inflation target range is between 3 percent and 6 percent.
Since taking the helm in June, Goldfajn has struck a tough tone in an attempt to recover the central bank’s inflation-battling credentials after the bank has failed for years to curb inflation to its goal.
At the first monetary policy meeting under his leadership, Goldfajn in July kept the central bank’s benchmark Selic rate steady at 14.25 percent, its highest in nearly 10 years, despite calls for rate cuts as the economy struggles with recession.
His vow to only ease monetary policy when inflation expectations drop more rapidly has prompted economists and traders to push back their expectations for an initial rate cut until the end of the year or even to 2017.
In the Estado de S.Paulo interview, Goldfajn also reiterated that the Brazilian currency’s exchange rate is not an instrument to control inflation.
He added that the central bank will only intervene in foreign exchange markets to secure the Brazilian real floats more freely.
He also said that the ideal level of international reserves is not something can be reviewed now because of the recession, but that it can be discussed in the future when the economy recovers.
Brazil holds $377.4 billion in reserves, according to central bank data. (Writing by Alonso Soto Editing by W Simon)