UPDATE 1-Economists see steeper rate hike in Brazil in 2013, 2014

Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:50am EDT

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* Interest rates seen at 8.25 pct this year, poll shows
    * 12-month inflation view down

    By Silvio Cascione
    SAO PAULO, March 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian policymakers are
seen raising interest rates this year and next to curb inflation
as the economy bounces back from a disappointing year, a central
bank poll showed on Monday.
    Economists raised forecasts for Brazil's benchmark Selic
rate to 8.25 percent at end-2013 and 8.50 percent at end-2014,
from 8.00 and 8.25 percent seen in the prior week's poll,
according to the median forecast of about 100 economists
surveyed last week for the so-called Focus survey. 
    The rate is currently at an all-time low of 7.25 percent.
    Prospects of a rate increase helped curb inflation
expectations. The outlook for the benchmark IPCA price index in
the next 12 months dropped to a rise of 5.45 percent from 5.51
percent in the prior week.
    Inflation for all of 2013 was seen at 5.73 percent, the poll
showed, easing from 5.82 percent in the prior week's survey.    
      The median forecast for 2014 inflation rose slightly to
5.54 percent from 5.50 percent in the previous poll.
    The central bank targets inflation at 4.5 percent, with a
tolerance margin of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
    Economists also trimmed their forecasts for growth of Latin
America's largest economy in 2013 to 3.03 percent, from 3.10
percent in the previous poll. Despite the revision, such
expansion would still be much faster than last year's, when
Brazil grew only 0.9 percent.
    In March, consumer prices are expected to rise 0.45 percent.
 (pct)                2013                 2014
                      previous   new       previous  new
                      forecast   forecast  forecast  forecast
 Consumer inflation   5.82       5.73      5.50      5.54
 Exchange rate        2.00       2.00      2.06      2.05

 Interest rate        8.00       8.25      8.25      8.50

 GDP growth           3.10       3.03      3.50      3.50
 Industrial output    3.00       3.00      3.75      4.00
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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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