Brazil exceeds expectations with half-point hike

The Central Bank of Brazil raised rates by half a point on Wednesday to 11.75%, a move which surprised most analysts.

"Evaluating the macroeconomic climate and inflation, the Monetary Policy Committee decided unanimously to raise the Selic rate," the central bank said. "The movement will contribute to a timely reduction of the inflationary threat, and, in doing so, reduce the magnitude of further rate rises."

At 11.25%, the benchmark Selic rate has stood at a record low since September, follow