By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Ibovespa or Bovespa Index, São Paulo Stock Exchange’s main index, has continued its steady uphill climb, pushing through the 61,000-point mark yesterday for the first time since July 2011. By close of business yesterday, the index had risen 1.78 percent on Tuesday’s figure, to 61,722 points – an increase of over 1,000 points in the day.

Bovespa Index January 18 2012, Brazil News
Brazil's Bovespa Index surges through the 61,000 mark on January 18, 2012, image by Yahoo! Finance.

The index lost over 18 percent last year, reaching a low of 47,793 in August 2011, but is already up 8.8 percent since the start of 2012.

The index’s current good fortunes are being attributed to strong performance by commodity stocks in companies such as Vale, Petrobras and OGX Petroleo, which have all experienced increases in their share prices recently.

However, the index is a long way short of its record high of 73,517 points, which it reached in May 2008.

The U.S. dollar also fell some 0.73 percent against the Brazilian real, with $1 buying R$1.766 last night.

The Banco Central (Central Bank) is also expected to reduce Brazil’s key interest rate, the SELIC, from eleven to 10.5 percent, analysts say, with some also predicting a further fall, perhaps to 9.5 percent, later in 2012.

With expectations of sluggish growth in Brazil in 2012, the Bank is keen to do all it can to bolster consumer spending – including cutting the SELIC.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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