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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite the continuing low inflation rate, the recent strong devaluation of the Brazilian currency and decreasing economic activity, Brazil’s Monetary Policy Committee (COPOM) surprised the market and announced on Wednesday it was maintaining the country’s benchmark interest rate (SELIC) at 6.5 percent per year.

“Taking into account the baseline scenario, the balance of risks, and the wide array of available information, the COPOM unanimously decided to maintain the SELIC rate at 6.50 percent per year," read the statement issued by the Central Bank immediately following the . . .

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