TEXT-Brazil central bank statement on interest rates

BRASILIA, March 17 Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:54pm EDT

BRASILIA, March 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank kept its benchmark lending rate at a record low 8.75 percent on Wednesday.

The bank's monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted five to three in favor of holding the so-called Selic rate. Policymakers slashed a cumulative 500 basis points off the rate in 2009. For more, see: [ID:nN17167375].

Following is the text of the statement issued by the Copom after its two-day monetary policy meeting:

"Evaluating the macroeconomic scenario and the outlook for inflation, the Copom decided to hold the Selic rate at 8.75 percent a year, without bias, with five votes in favor and three votes to raise the Selic rate by 0.5 percentage point. The committee will carefully monitor the development of the macroeconomic outlook until its next meeting, to then define the next steps of its monetary policy strategy."

(Compiled by Todd Benson; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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