Brazil inflation hits highest mid-Sept level since 2012 as food prices jump


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BRASILIA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The monthly rate of inflation in Brazil doubled in September from the previous month, according to a mid-month measure of consumer prices on Wednesday, led by a sharp rise in food prices.

The monthly rate of consumer price inflation as measured by the IPCA-15 index was 0.45% in the month to mid-September, government statistics agency IBGE said.

That was the highest monthly rate since January, higher than the 0.39% forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and the highest for any September since 2012.

The annual rate of inflation was 2.65%, the highest since April and also higher than the 2.59% forecast in a Reuters poll.

Central bank minutes on Tuesday showed that policymakers expect a short-term spike in inflation due to a "temporary food price increase and a partial normalization of some service prices" as the economic recovery continues.

But their longer term inflation outlook remains benign, even using lower interest rate and weaker exchange rate inputs into their forecasting models. Disinflationary pressures from the pandemic are likely to last longer than usual, they said.

Food prices jumped 1.5% on the month, which accounted for two-thirds of the overall rise on the month, IBGE said. Meat prices rose 3.4%, and the biggest increase was a 22.5% surge in tomato prices.

Transport costs, which include fuel, rose 0.8% in price on the month, accounting for the remaining third of the index's overall rise, IBGE said. Within transport costs, the main component was a 3.2% increase in gasoline prices.

Education costs fell 3.3%, and the biggest single deflationary impact on the overall index was a 0.7% fall in health and personal care products, IBGE said.

The accumulated rate of IPCA-15 inflation so far this year is 1.35%, IBGE said. The 2.65% annual rate of inflation remains well below the central bank's goal for this year of 4.00%.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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