Advertisement

Brazil's Lula attributes interest rate level to cenbank chief's "stubbornness"

Brazil's President Lula meets Spain's Prime Minister Sanchez at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Monday that there is no explanation for keeping the country's benchmark interest rate at the current 11.25% level apart from the "stubbornness" of central bank president Roberto Campos Neto.

Since August, Brazil's central bank has cut the country's benchmark Selic rate by 250 basis points, after it held the rate for about a year at its highest level since 2016.

Still, "there is no explanation for the Selic rate to be at 11.25%," Lula said in an interview with local TV channel SBT. "There is no economic explanation, no inflationary explanation. There is nothing, apart from the stubbornness of the central bank's president over holding these interest rates," he added.

Lula's relationship with Campos Neto has improved in recent months following a series of attacks on the central bank chief last year, specially concerning the Selic rate's level, which at some point had raised investor concern about his commitment to the bank's independence.

In the interview, Lula said he has "civilized conversations" with Campos Neto, but added the central bank's chief is contributing to a delay of Brazil's economic growth.

(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia; Additional reporting and writing by Andre Romani in Sao Paulo; Editing by Brendan O'Boyle)