By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s official inflation for 2018 closed at 3.75 percent for the year, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). According to the entity one of the villains last year was food prices, which were in turn hindered by the nationwide truckers’ strike in May.

Food prices were the main villain for last year's inflation increase, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Food prices were the main villain for last year’s inflation increase, photo courtesy of Agência Brasil.

“This [truck drivers’] strike occurred in late May, so it had an impact in June on fuels and also on food, because of the shortage. [With no strike], inflation would probably have registered a lower level in the accumulated of the year,” said IBGE researcher Fernando Gonçalves during the presentation of the results.

Last year’s inflation came in within the target boundaries set by the country’s Central Bank for 2018 of between three and six percent. In 2017, inflation registered a growth of 2.95 percent.

According to the IBGE, the 2018 inflation was mainly driven by the prices of housing, transportation and food products and services. Together, these three groups accounted for 66 percent of the yearly inflation.

The main driver of the growth was the increase in food costs which rose 4.04 percent last year. In 2017, the food and beverages group registered a 1.87 percent decline in prices.

Among the metropolitan regions and capitals surveyed by IBGE, Porto Alegre was the one that accumulated the highest inflation in 2018 (4.62 percent), followed by Rio de Janeiro (4.3 percent), and Vitória (4.19 percent).

The lowest inflation rate was observed in Aracaju (2.64 percent), São Luís (2.65 percent), and Recife (2.84 percent).

For 2019, economists at financial institutions are projecting an inflation of 4.01 percent, according to the weekly Focus survey conducted by the Central Bank. The center of inflation in this year’s target is slightly lower, 4.25 percent, with acceptable boundaries from 2.75 percent to 5.75 percent.

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