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Brazil April inflation hits 26-year high

Fuel prices remained an underlying factor in Brazilian inflation, up more than 33 percent in the past year. ©AFP

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazil's inflation rate hit a 26-year high for the month of April, the government said Wednesday, as spiraling prices continued to defy the central bank's push to rein them in.

The national statistics institute, IBGE, said inflation in the 12 months through April rose to 12.13 percent, the highest since 2003 and well above the central bank's target of 3.5 percent.

The rate for April came in at 1.06 percent, the highest for the month since 1996, IBGE said.

That was worse than the forecast of one percent by analysts polled by business daily Valor.

Food prices were the main inflation driver in April, rising more than two percent.

Fuel prices remained an underlying factor, up more than 33 percent in the past year.

"The strength of price pressures is likely to keep policymakers at the central bank concerned," William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at consulting firm Capital Economics, said in a note.

Brazil's central bank has been on one of the most aggressive monetary tightening cycles in the world, rapidly hiking the key interest rate from two percent in March 2021 to 12.75 percent currently.

But inflation has so far remained stubbornly high, hurting Brazilians' wallets -- and President Jair Bolsonaro's popularity as he gears up to seek reelection in October, trailing leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) in the polls.

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