Brazil inflation

This page is about the IPCA, the consumer price inflation measure used by the central bank for guiding monetary policy.

Note this page is only updated every few months.


29 May 2013.

By the standards of the hyperinflation in the 90s, current inflation, at 6.5%, is very low. However price controls distort the figures to some extent, and even 6.5% is high enough to be disruptive and to discourage the trust required for people to save.


29 May 2013. Data through April 2013.

The first graph shows the post-hyperinflation period through to the present.

The second graph shows the whole history of this series.


Background: there are many inflation measures in Brazil. The IPCA is a consumer price inflation measure covering urban consumers with incomes between 1 and 40 times the minimum wage, and is the guiding measure used by the central bank in setting monetary policy. It is calculated by the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística).


The full historical series can be obtained from the central bank (Banco Central do Brasil) in its Time Series Management System. Choose “Economic activity”, then “Price indicators”, then “Consumer price indices”, then, near the end of the second page of choices, series 13522, “IPCA - in 12 months”. Tic the box and download a CSV file. When opening the CSV file, take care with the separators: ”;” separates columns, ”.” is used for thousands, and ”,” to separate units from decimal fractions.

In a less complicated system, recent data is available in summary form.

M2 is available from FRED.

See also

Clippings below were used in the construction of this page

Overview of Brazilian inflation measures

Jan 2004. Economy and Energy issue 41.

“Some Indexes of the Brazilian Inflation. Marcos Souza, Frida Eidelman”

“1. Introduction

The objective of the present note is to introduce the main Brazilian indexes, describing their main characteristics such as, for example, methodology, calculation, geographical inclusion and values. Historically the main institutions that calculate price indexes for the Brazilian economy are Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas (FIPE) and Departamento Intersindical de Estatística e Estudos Sócio-Econômicos (DIEESE). Therefore, the organization of the present note is based on price indexes of these four institutions. …

3. IBGE Price Indexes …

3.1 National Consumer’s Price Index –INPC and Wide National Consumer’s Price Index - IPCA

The INPC and the IPCA are calculated in a continuous and systematic way for the areas included in the system. The Wide National Consumer’s Price Index – IPCA, is used by the Central Bank for monitoring the objectives established in the inflation goal system and adopted from July 1999 on for signaling the monetary policy.

The target population of the INPC are families with monthly income between 1 (one) and 8 (eight) minimum wages whose head is mainly a salaried employee living in the urban areas of the regions while the IPCA refers to families with income between 1 (one) and 40 (forty) minimum wages, whatever the source of this income, and living in the urban areas of the region. …

e) Methodology

The indexes are calculated for each region. In the first step of the synthesis one obtains from the monthly collected prices the estimate of their variation referring to each researched product.

These estimates are obtained by calculating the simple arithmetic average of the local prices of product samples that is compared in two consecutive months therefore producing the relative averages.

By aggregating the relative average of the products through a geometric average, the price variation of each sub-item is calculated and this is the smallest index aggregation that has explicit weighting.

From this point on the Laspeyres formula is applied and then one obtains the further levels of aggregation, namely item, sub-group, group and finally the general index of the region.

The national indexes – INPC and IPCA are calculated from the regional indexes results by arithmetic average weighting.

The INPC weighting variable is the “urban resident population” (Population Census of 1996) and that of IPCA is the “total urban income” (National Research by Residence Sampling – PNDA/96).”

Some measures were born out of distrust of government manipulation

Aug 2005. Banco Central do Brasil FAQ

“Price Indices”

“1. What are the major price indices in Brazil?

Brazil has a wide variety of price indices with different characteristics. For analytical convenience, the most important price indices can be categorized by the three agencies that produce them:

  • The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – IBGE (http:/

/ produces Brazil’s national consumer price indices, which include the IPCA (Broad Consumer Price Index), IPCA-15, and the INPC (National Consumer Price Index).

  • The Getúlio Vargas Foundation – FGV ( produces Brazil’s general price index (IGP), which is used to generate the IGP-DI, IGP-M and IGP-10.
  • The Institute of Economic Research Foundation – Fipe ( produces the consumer price index for the city of São Paulo, the IPC-Fipe.

2. What is the relative importance of these indices? How are they used?

Three of Brazil’s price indices have explicit roles in economic policy and/or the domestic financial markets:

  • The IPCA is the most important price index from the standpoint of macroeconomic policy because it is the consumer price index that is used in the country’s inflation targeting regime adopted in June 1999.
  • The IGP-DI and IGP-M indices are used to index some government-regulated prices, including, most importantly, the prices of electricity and telephone services. The IGP-M is also used as a financial market indexing factor – including for the federal government’s inflation-indexed securities (NTN-C).

The other price indices do not have formal roles in economic policy, but are still used for other purposes with varying degrees of importance. For example, the INPC is commonly used as an inflation benchmark in private sector wage negotiations. The IPC-Fipe, the consumer price index for the city of São Paulo, is followed closely because it is released on a weekly basis and thus enables economists and financial market participants to monitor the evolution of inflation over relatively short time intervals.

3. Why does Brazil have such a large number of price indices?

In the decades prior to the 1980s, the IGP-DI was the country’s official inflation measure. During the period of high inflation in the 1970s and early 1980s, Brazil adopted a wide variety of indexation rules for wages, financial assets and nominal contracts in general, and this in turn gave rise to the use of a variety of price indices for indexation purposes. For example, the INPC became the standard for indexing wage contracts.

In addition, the government repeatedly altered the official inflation indices and indexing rules during various inflation stabilization plans – for example, by purging certain items from, and changing the calculation methodology for, some indices. The public distrust that this engendered led the private sector to create the IGP-M as an alternative inflation measure immune to government interference.”