(Adds table, details on World Cup and airfares)
By Silvio Cascione
BRASILIA, June 18 Brazil's inflation rate rose
more than expected in the month to mid-June and approached the
ceiling of the government's target as the World Cup pushed up
demand for air tickets.
Consumer prices rose 6.41 percent in the
12-month period through mid-June, up from the 6.31 percent rate
registered one month before and slightly below the 6.5 percent
ceiling of the official target range, statistics agency IBGE
said on Wednesday.
The median forecast of economists was for a 6.35 percent
inflation rate, according to a Reuters poll.
The IPCA-15 index rose 0.47 percent from mid-May, down from
an increase of 0.58 percent in the prior month.
Airfares soared 22.15 percent as hundreds of thousands of
soccer fans traveled across the continent-sized country to watch
World Cup matches, IBGE said. Demand for air travel had been
weaker than expected up to the previous month, but the mid-June
numbers suggested the Cup was finally affecting consumer prices.
Hotel fares and prices of tourism trips also rose by 4.12
and 5.3 percent respectively, IBGE said.
Food prices continued to slow down after a sharp increase
earlier this year, though. Food and beverage prices rose just
0.21 percent from the previous month, compared to an increase of
0.88 percent in mid-May.
Stubbornly elevated inflation has proved a headache for
President Dilma Rousseff, who will seek re-election in October.
It has also undermined business and consumer confidence, curbing
investments and family consumption over the past few months.
Economists expect inflation to breach the target ceiling in
coming months. Still, the central bank has signaled that
interest rates could stay on hold through the rest of the year
after it had raised them nine straight times as it waits to see
how the tightening affects prices and slowing economic growth.
Brazil's benchmark Selic rate is currently at 11 percent.
Below is the result for each price category:
- Food and beverages 0.21 0.88
- Housing 0.29 1.19
- Household articles 1.00 0.29
- Apparel 0.67 0.67
- Transport 0.50 -0.33
- Health and personal care 0.67 1.20
- Personal expenses 1.09 0.51
- Education 0.13 0.08
- Communication 0.00 0.17
- IPCA-15 0.47 0.58
(Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)