Brazil's central bank raised interest rates on Wednesday, surprising investors with a move that signals President Dilma Rousseff could make more market-friendly policy changes after her narrow re-election victory on Sunday.
In a divided vote, the central bank's board decided to raise its benchmark Selic rate by 25 basis points to 11.25 percent. All 43 economists surveyed in a Reuters poll this week expected the bank to keep the Selic at 11 percent.
With the hotly contested presidential race over, the central bank moved swiftly to anchor inflation expectations at a time when markets are doubtful Rousseff is willing to overhaul her policies to regain the trust of investors.
The bank said the balance of inflation risks has become less favorable since its last rate-setting meeting in early September due to more intense price increases.
"In light of that, the committee considered it appropriate to adjust monetary conditions in order to guarantee, at a lower cost, the prevalence of a more benign inflation outlook in 2015 and 2016," the bank said in its statement.
Five of the eight board members voted to raise the Selic, and the other three voted to keep it unchanged.
"This definitely is a great step forward to rebuild the credibility of the inflation-targeting regime. Very well done," said Alberto Ramos, senior economist with Goldman Sachs in New York. "This is market friendly. Whether this means other (market-friendly) steps will come, only time will tell."
Inflation hovering above the official target ceiling of 6.5 percent has raised pressure on the central bank to raise borrowing costs. The central bank aims to keep inflation at the center of the target, between 2.5 percent and 6.5 percent.
Still, most economists had expected the bank to refrain from action until Rousseff announces changes to her economic team.
Rousseff has pledged policy changes to reverse economic weakness that cost her support among Brazil's middle class in the tight race against market darling Aecio Neves.