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BRASILIA: Brazil's IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 0.78% in the month to mid-December, statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday, losing steam from previous months but still reaching its highest December reading in six years as the country struggles with persistent inflation.

The annual rate of inflation in mid-December stood at 10.42%, broadly in line with the median forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists of 10.45% but far above the central bank's year-end target for consumer price inflation of 3.75%.

The monthly rise also matched expectations of 0.8% in a poll of economists, slowing down from a 1.17% increase in November.

According to IBGE, prices rose in seven of nine groups of goods and services covered. The biggest impact came from transportation, which ended the year with a 21.35% surge, mainly driven by higher fuel prices.

Brazil posts largest current account deficit for November in 7 years

The central bank acknowledged inflation has proven to be more persistent than anticipated with price increases spread among several components. Given the scenario, its president Roberto Campos Neto said that the country's monetary tightening cycle - among the most aggressive in the world - may have longer to go.

The central bank more than quadrupled its benchmark interest rate to 9.25% from 2% this year and has already signaled another 150 basis point hike in February.

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