Brazil makes 17th consecutive rate cut

Brazil's central bank made its 17th consecutive cut in the overnight lending rate on July 18, as inflation continued to be kept in check by the strong exchange rate.

The benchmark interest rate was cut by half a percentage point to 11.5%, as had been widely anticipated. The bank's board was split 4-3, with those who dissented favouring a 25 basis point reduction.

Inflation has been held below the bank's target for 2007 of 4.5%, while the real has more than doubled since October 2002. However,