(Adds table, details)
BRASILIA, March 22 Brazil's inflation eased as
expected in mid-March towards the center of the official target
as food and fuel prices fell, government data showed on
Wednesday, paving the way for a sharper interest rate cut by the
Consumer prices rose 4.73 percent in the 12 months through
mid-March, down from 5.02 percent in mid-February and close to
the 4.5 percent target, statistics agency IBGE said.
It is the lowest mid-month rate since September 2010.
Prices rose 0.15 percent from mid-February, slowing from an
increase of 0.54 percent in the previous month.
Falling inflation is expected by economists and investors to
prompt the central bank to accelerate the pace of rate cuts at
its next meeting in April and drive rates down to 8.50 percent
by the end of 2018 from the current 12.25 percent.
Brazil's sudden inflation slowdown highlights the
unprecedented severity of the country's two-year recession and
is helping President Michel Temer's economic team to restore the
credibility of fiscal and monetary policy to curb price rises.
Below is the result for each price category:
- Food and beverages -0.08 -0.07
- Housing 0.64 0.18
- Household articles -0.30 0.34
- Apparel -0.02 -0.31
- Transport -0.16 0.66
- Health and personal care 0.48 0.83
- Personal expenses 0.30 0.37
- Education 0.87 5.17
- Communication -0.31 0.84
- IPCA-15 0.15 0.54
(Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)