BRASILIA Jan 15 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.