Brazil's consumer inflation above central bank target on meat prices

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian consumer prices rose at a faster pace in 2019 and exceeded economists’ forecast, mainly led by higher meat prices, government statistics agency IBGE said on Friday.

The 2019 rate of inflation was 4.31%, above the central bank’s official year-end goal of 4.25%, which has a tolerance margin of 1.5 percentage points on either side. It was also higher than the 3.75% posted a year earlier.

The median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists was for an annual inflation rate of 4.23%.

In December, the benchmark IPCA index rose 1.15%, the biggest increase from the previous month since 2002 and above economists’ forecast of 1.08%.

Meat prices went up 18.06% from the previous month amid a surge in Brazilian beef exports to China after an outbreak of African swine fever there. In 2019, meat prices rose 32.4%.

Reporting by Camila Moreira and Debora Moreira; Writing by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Steve Orlofsky