Brazil raises Selic interest rate to 10.50 percent

BRASILIA Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:13pm EST

BRASILIA Jan 15 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday to 10.50 percent from 10 percent, taking many economists by surprise with a larger-than-expected hike aimed at curbing inflation in spite of a weak economy.

Only 14 of 44 economists polled by Reuters last week expected bank policymakers to raise the so-called Selic key rate by 50 basis points.

Most economists surveyed said they expected an increase of 25 basis points, though a majority of market traders predicted the steeper increase in the interest rates futures market.

The decision by the bank's monetary policy committee, known as Copom, was unanimous.

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