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Brazil's industrial production rebounds after crippling strike

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Industrial production in Brazil rose 13.1 percent in June, rebounding from an 11 percent plunge in May caused by a crippling national strike by truck drivers, official statistics showed Thursday.

It was the strongest increase in industrial output since 2002, even if it fell below the 14.09 percent rise predicted by market analysts.

The IBGE statistics office said the boost was seen across the economy, with auto production up 47.1 percent, compared to a 30.1 percent slide in May. Food production was up 19.4 percent, reversing a 17.2 percent decline.

The exceptional rebound was powered by recovery from the dire effects of the May strike in which drivers angry at high fuel prices shut down much of the country. Shop shelves emptied, gas stations ran out of fuel and airports had to ground planes.

The unrest was blamed for inflation of 1.26 percent in June, the highest rate since the start of 2016.

On Wednesday Brazil's Central Bank maintained its key Selic interest rate steady at 6.5 percent, following a bump in inflation prompted by the depreciating real and the strike.

The Central Bank had made 12 consecutive rate cuts ending in March, bringing the Selic to a historic low. Analysts now expect it to remain unchanged until the end of the year before rising to around eight percent next year.

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