May 2, 2018 / 1:10 PM / a year ago

Brazil manufacturing activity up in April, but at a slower pace

BRASILIA, May 2 (Reuters) - Brazil’s manufacturing activity expanded for a ninth straight month in April but at a slower pace than in the previous month, a private survey showed on Wednesday, highlighting an uneven economic recovery.

The Purchasing Manager Index BRPMIM=ECI compiled by market research firm Markit fell to a seasonally adjusted 52.3 from 53.4 in March, the first decline in the year.

New orders increased at the slowest pace since January, curbed by widespread unemployment and higher input costs due to a weaker currency and higher power- and insurance-related costs.

“It’s encouraging to see that the latest set of PMI data highlight sustained growth in the Brazilian manufacturing sector, but the broad nature of the slowdown is somewhat concerning,” Markit economist Pollyanna De Lima said.

The figures suggest manufacturing activity, the main driver of an otherwise bumpy economic recovery, may have wavered at the start of the second quarter, the latest in a string of underwhelming growth figures.

This is likely to keep the central bank on track to cut interest rates once again this month to an all-time low of 6.25 percent to support Latin America’s largest economy and lift inflation back to its target range

Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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