UPDATE 1-Economists see no more rate cuts in Brazil this year

Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:12am EDT

* Selic to end 2012 at 7.5 pct, survey sees

* 2012 Inflation view up to 5.35 pct

* Growth forecasts unchanged

By Silvio Cascione

SAO PAULO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Economists see Brazil's central bank holding interest rates through end of the year as they raised their 2012 inflation estimates, a closely watched weekly central bank survey showed on Monday.

The median forecast for the central bank's benchmark Selic rate edged up from 7.25 percent to its current 7.50 percent. Economists also raised their forecasts for Brazil's consumer price index this year to 5.35 percent from 5.26 percent.

The government targets inflation at 4.5 percent, plus or minus 2 percentage points.

In general, the more inflation creeps up from 4.5 percent, the likelier it is the central bank may hold or raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressures.

Inflation in the 12 months through mid-September was 5.31 percent, while the unemployment rate fell in August to an all-time low on a seasonally adjusted basis, Brazil's statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.

Taken together, both numbers strengthened the case for a pause in the aggressive cycle of interest rate cuts, economists said on that day.

A cut in reserve requirements for banks on Sep. 14 was also seen by some analysts as a signal that the central bank would keep rates on hold.

The central bank cut its benchmark Selic rate for nine straight times since Aug. 2011 to an all-time low of 7.5 percent to help revive a stagnating economy. Its next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for October 10.

Lower interest rates will boost the economy to grown an expected 4 percent next year, up from an estimated 1.57 percent this year, the survey showed.

As the economy accelerates into 2013, the central bank will likely raise interest rates a bit to keep inflation at bay. The median forecast for the Selic at end-2013 was at 8.25 percent, the same estimate made a week earlier.

Consumer prices are expected to rise 0.50 percent in September over August, the survey showed, up from a forecast of 0.45 percent for the month made a week earlier.

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