Brazil maintains steady interest rates

BRAZIL - Brazil's central bank yesterday maintained its prime interest rate at 18.5 per cent for the third consecutive month after recent market turmoil began fuelling inflation fears.

The central bank decision continues its tight monetary policy, designed to meet an ambitious inflation-target of 5.5 per cent this year.

However, the move fuelled criticism by opposition parties and some business leaders, who said the government's inflation targets were hurting economic growth. The influential