Brazil central bank holds rates steady despite slowdown


Brasília (AFP)

Brazil's interest rates remained unchanged Wednesday after the central bank held its first monetary policy meeting under its new chief Roberto Campos Neto.

The central bank's unanimous decision -- only the second since pro-business President Jair Bolsonaro took power in January on a promise to revive Latin America's biggest economy -- to keep rates at 6.5 percent was in line with market expectations.

Rates have been at the historic low for a year and the bank gave no indication of plans to cut them any time soon despite slowing growth.

The decision disappointed the powerful National Confederation of Industries, which issued a statement saying "the weak performance of economic activity shows that Brazil must reduce rates."

Brazil's economy is still bearing the scars of the record recession in 2015-2016, with growth barely above one percent in the past two years.

Recent economic indicators, though, show signs of a contraction in 2019.