November 12, 2012 / 11:16 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Economists see no rate hikes in Brazil through 2013

* Forecasts for 2013 inflation, growth remain unchanged

* 2012 inflation view up to 5.46 pct

SAO PAULO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Brazil’s central bank will likely keep interest rates at their current record low of 7.25 percent until at least the end of next year to help support a sluggish economic recovery, a weekly central bank survey of economists showed on Monday.

The poll of around 100 financial institutions showed no other major changes in the outlook for the world’s sixth largest economy, with inflation above the center of the government’s target and faster economic growth in the year ahead.

The median forecast for the benchmark Selic rate was 7.63 percent in a similar survey a week before.

Policymakers have insisted that interest rates should remain low for a “prolonged period” because the recent increase in consumer prices was mainly driven by external factors such as rising food prices.

Central bank board member Carlos Hamilton Araujo reiterated on Thursday that inflation will converge to the center of the target of 4.5 percent around the third quarter of next year.

Market forecasts for consumer prices are higher. Inflation will likely end this year at 5.46 percent, up from a forecast of 5.44 percent a week before. It is expected to rise 5.40 percent in 2013, the same forecast from a week before.

Economic growth should accelerate in 2013 to 4 percent from 1.54 percent this year. Both forecasts remained unchanged from the previous week.

Consumer prices are expected to rise 0.50 percent in November over October, down from 0.51 percent in the prior week, the central bank survey added.(Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by John Stonestreet and W Simon)

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