UPDATE 1-Brazil annual inflation rises to 6.8% in April, highest since Nov 2016

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By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, May 11 (Reuters) - Annual inflation in Brazil rose to 6.8% in April, the highest since 2016, official figures showed on Tuesday, driven by higher healthcare and pharmaceutical goods prices as well as a rise in food and drink costs.

The annual rate of consumer inflation rose to 6.8% from 6.1% in March, statistics agency IBGE said, exactly in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and the highest since November 2016.

The central bank's year-end goal is 3.75%, with a 1.5 percentage point margin of error on either side. These figures show inflation is well above even the 5.25% upper limit of that range.

Monthly inflation slowed to 0.3% in April from 0.9% in March, IBGE said, again exactly as economists in the Reuters poll had forecast.

Eight of the nine categories surveyed by IBGE showed rising prices in the month of April, with a 1.2% rise in healthcare and personal goods prices accounting for around half that. Within that segment, the price of medicines rose 2.7%, IBGE said.

Food and drink prices rose 0.4% in April, three times faster than the previous month and accounting for around a third of the overall monthly rise.

The central bank last week delivered its second 75 basis point increase in borrowing costs, raising the Selic rate to 3.50% and indicating a similar move again in June. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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