March 12, 2019 / 12:57 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil consumer inflation up 0.43 pct in February on education costs

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BRASILIA, March 12 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Brazil rose at a slightly faster pace than expected in February due to a rise in private education fees and food and beverage prices, statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday.

On a monthly basis, inflation rose by 0.43 percent in February, IBGE said, more than the expected 0.39 percent and up from 0.32 percent a month earlier.

Annual consumer price inflation rose by 3.89 percent, slightly higher than the median forecast of 3.85 percent in a poll of economists and up from 3.78 percent in January.

The biggest increase was in education costs and tuition fees, which rose by 3.53 percent on the month, IBGE said. Food and beverages also contributed to inflation, going up by 0.78 percent last month and 0.90 percent in January.

The central bank expects average inflation this year of 4.25 percent, and has held its key Selic interest rate at a record low of 6.50 percent for almost a year.

While recent policy meeting minutes and statements show that rate-setters think inflation risks are moderating, they still believe upside risks are “significant.”

The balance of risks in the coming months, therefore, remains “asymmetric” to rising prices, they warn.

February January - Food and beverages 0.78 0.90 - Housing 0.38 0.24 - Household articles 0.20 0.32 - Apparel -0.33 -1.15 - Transport -0.34 0.02 - Health and personal care 0.49 0.26 - Personal expenses 0.18 0.61 - Education 3.53 0.12 - Communication 0.00 0.04 - IPCA 0.43 0.32

Reporting by Jamie McGeever and Ana Mano; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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