By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Consumer Price Index (IPCA) increased by 0.75 percent in March, according to a report released yesterday by the Brazilian Statistics and Geography Institute (IBGE). The index was higher than that of the previous month (February) and of March of 2018.
The latest result of the IPCA was the highest for the month of March since 2015. The IPCA, which measures the country’s official inflation, rose by 0.43 percent in February, and 0.09 percent in March of last year.
In the first three months of the year the IPCA registered an accumulated inflation of 1.51 percent and in the last twelve months ending in March accumulated inflation was 4.58 percent.
According to the IBGE, March inflation was strongly influenced by a surge in transportation prices – up by 1.44 percent – and food and beverage prices – up by 1.37 percent.
The increase in transport was influenced by the price of fuel, which rose by 3.49 percent. Gasoline was 2.88 percent more expensive and ethanol prices 7.02 percent higher.
Among the culprits for the surge in inflation in the food and beverage sector were tomatoes (up 31.84 percent), potatoes (up 21.11 percent), beans (up 12.93 percent) and fruits (up 4.26 percent).
Among the twelve metropolitan centers surveyed the one with the highest inflation index in March was São Luiz (Maranhão) with an IPCA of 1.36 percent. Goiânia (Goiás) registered the lowest IPCA at 0.12 percent.
Earlier this week, Brazil’s Central Bank released its Focus Survey, where market analysts estimated an increase in the annual 2019 IPCA inflation index from 3.89 percent to 3.90 percent.