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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brazil Consumer Prices Fall In August According To The IGP-M Index

Brazil's broadest measure of inflation fell in August for the first time in more than two years, led by a larger-than-forecast drop in food prices. Consumer, construction and wholesale prices, as measured by the IGP-M price index, decreased 0.32 percent when compared with July.

The country's benchmark index for consumer prices showed a 6.23 percent increase for the 12 months through mid-August, the central bank said last week.

Today's report obviously doesn't mean that the central bank should ease up on its bid to contain inflation by raising interest rates, but it is, nonetheless, welcome news. Policy makers have raised interest rates three times since April, to 13 percent from a record low 11.25 percent, to slow inflation running near the 6.5 percent upper limit of its target range.

Policy makers, led by bank President Henrique Meirelles, are still expected to raise the key rate 0.75 percentage point for the second consecutive time at their Sept. 10 meeting, and the rate may yet reach 14.75 percent by the end of the year according to the consensus view.

A 30 percent monthly drop in the wholesale price of tomatoes led all food items lower, helping reverse a 1.76 percent increase in the IGP-M in July. The index is measured by the Rio de Janeiro-based Getulio Vargas Foundation.

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