Brazilian Inflation Slightly Higher Than Forecast in Early January

Brazil's annual consumer prices came in slightly above market expectations in the month to mid-January, statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday, as policymakers in Latin America's largest economy work to lower inflation to the central bank's target, Reuters reported. The IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 5.87% in the 12 months to mid-January, slightly exceeding the 5.83% median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, though slowing from the 5.9% seen in the previous month. That came on the back of a 0.55% monthly increase, IBGE said, boosted by higher health and personal care and food and beverage costs. Economists had expected a 0.52% rise in the month. The data was released a day after Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said he saw a chance of Brazil placing inflation "at least within the tolerance band" in 2023 after missing it for two years in a row, despite what he called a "tight target." Brazil has an annual inflation goal of 3.25% this year, with a tolerance margin of 1.5 percentage point - tighter than the 3.5% target missed in 2022. Recently sworn-in leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has criticized the target as a hindrance to economic growth. Read more.