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BRASILIA, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Brazil’s central bank is relatively relaxed about inflation, bank president Roberto Campos Neto said on Wednesday, noting that policymakers must look through the recent spike in prices and take a longer-term view.
Speaking in an online live event hosted by financial cooperative society Sicoob Engecred, Campos Neto also said policymakers will discuss their “forward guidance” pledge to keep interest rates low for a long time at their next policy meeting in mid-December.
Inflation in Brazil has been rising in recent months, which Campos Neto said is due to spiking food prices, a weak exchange rate, and demand fueled by the government’s emergency income transfers. This is a temporary phenomenon, he insists.
“We are vigilant ... but the central bank’s horizon is always longer. This is the way to conduct monetary policy,” Campos Neto said. “We are relatively calm, we are monitoring developments.”
Figures this week showed that consumer price inflation was 0.8% in the month to mid-November, the highest November reading in five years, and the annual rate of inflation was 4.2%, above the central bank’s year-end target 4.00%.
Campos Neto said that if the central bank had taken a short-term view on inflation, it would have been under pressure to cut interest rates even lower than the record low 2.00% a few months ago when inflation was much lower.
When asked whether the central bank will adjust its “forward guidance” pledge to keep rates low for a long time, Campos Neto said policymakers will wait a couple of weeks to discuss it at their next policy meeting on Dec. 8-9.
He repeated his view that the government must resume its economic reform and fiscal consolidation agenda in order to regain investors’ faith that deficit and debt are on a downward path.
Uncertainty surrounding the fiscal outlook has helped push up longer-term borrowing costs and has been a factor behind the real’s near 30% depreciation against the dollar this year, he noted. ($1 = 5.32 reais) (Reporting by Jamie McGeever and Marcela Ayres Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)
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