Economists are anticipating a more challenging scenario for the Central Bank to meet inflation targets
Central Bank’s building in Brasília — Foto: Divulgação/Rodrigo Oliveira/Caixa Econômica Federal
Fuel tax cuts will remain in place next year, which lowered financial market inflation expectations for 2023 but did not prevent them to rise in 2024 – a year that is already entering the monetary policy radar.
And the market has begun to factor in fewer interest rate cuts next year, anticipating a more challenging scenario for the Central Bank to meet inflation targets.
The Central Bank’s Focus survey with analysts, released Monday morning, shows that the market’s median projection for inflation in 2023 has dropped to 5.27% from 5.3%. It is the third consecutive week of decline in market projections for inflation.
This drop may be linked to the fact that fuel tax cuts will remain in place next year, per the budget bill. The measure, which some market analysts had already priced in, has the potential to lower inflation by 0.6 percentage points next year.
But the measure could also have a negative effect in the longer term because it increases the fiscal risk. In fact, the market’s median inflation forecast for 2024 increased again this week, to 3.43% from 3.41%.
The deterioration in inflation expectations for 2024 is of particular concern because the Central Bank has lengthened the time frame in which it intends to bring inflation to the target. Today, the Central Bank manipulates interest rates with a view to bringing inflation to the target in the first quarter of 2024.
The Central Bank has signaled that it is reaching the end of the monetary tightening cycle. But some analysts believe, according to the Focus survey, that the Central Bank will have to tighten the key interest rate Selic more, or at least postpone interest rate cuts.
The distribution of expectations about interest rates, released Monday by the Central Bank, shows that 80% of analysts think that the monetary authority will leave interest rates stable at 13.75% in the next meeting, in two weeks, keeping them at this level thereafter. But 20% predict a further increase, to 14% per year.
The market is calculating that there will be less room for interest rate cuts in 2023. Before, the median of the analysts’ projections indicated an interest rate of 11% per year at the end of 2023; now, they see the rate at 11.25% per year.
Besides the worsening of fiscal risk after the budget bill was sent to Congress, inflation expectations for 2024 may have been influenced by the second-quarter GDP data, which show that the economy is growing above expectations – a development that may hinder the Central Bank’s efforts to slow down inflation.
The map of the distribution of inflation expectations shows that only a little more than a quarter of economic analysts believe that inflation will stay within the target in 2024, set at 3%.
More than 30% of analysts think it will stay well above the target, in the range between 3.68% and 4.28%. The mapping also shows an upward bias in expectations for 2025, with about 40% of analysts projecting inflation above the target of 3%.
*By Alex Ribeiro — São Paulo
Source: Valor International