Brazil's Central Bank is likely to leave its key interest rate unchanged at a historic low of 7.25 percent this week, despite rising inflation, analysts said Monday.
Most of the 100 analysts and operators consulted by the bank on a weekly basis agreed that its monetary policy committee -- which meets Tuesday and Wednesday -- will defer an expected half-point hike to 7.75 percent until May.
"It is inevitable, the Brazilian Central Bank will have to raise the interest rate to help contain inflation in the long term, but we believe that it will not do so at this week's meeting," Austin Rating economist Felipe Queiroz told AFP.
Analysts also agree that the rate is likely to be pushed up to 8.5 percent by year's end. But Queiroz, for one, noted that the bank may wait until June to start doing so.
Arnaldo Curvello, managing director of the consulting firm Ativa, said the Central Bank was trying to delay the rate hike due to a worsening of the international economic environment and lower commodity prices.
In March, experts were alarmed when it was confirmed that 12-month inflation reached 6.59 percent, above the official target's upper limit of 6.5 percent.
The inflation surge coincides with sluggish growth.
In 2012, growth in the world's seventh largest economy slowed for the second year in a row, reaching an anemic 0.9 percent, its worst performance in three years.
Officials expect three percent GDP growth this year but Queiroz said the country was still showing "a weakened economy, with a recovery that is not steady."