September 16, 2012 / 5:32 PM / in 5 years

Brazil's Mantega says no need for 2013 rate hike - paper

* Mantega warns banks on credit cards, lending spreads

* Brazil to grow at 4 pct rate by year-end, Mantega says

* Steelmakers to lose tariff shield if prices rise-minister

* Says Petrobras to post 2012 profit, more in 2013

* Says Brazil has no currency floor, will block QE3 inflow

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Brazil has no need to raise interest rates in 2013 because inflation is under control, Finance Minister Guido Mantega told the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper in a report published on Sunday.

While the country’s gross domestic product will be growing at annualized rates of 4 percent by the end of 2012, consumer prices will be kept in check, Mantega told the newspaper.

“There is no need for an increase in interest rates,” Mantega was quoted as saying in response to a question about next year. “Inflation is under control.”

Faster growth, though, will not be enough to boost total 2012 GDP expansion beyond 2 percent, he said.

A plan announced on Sept. 11 will cut many electricity rates by as much as 28 percent. The move will slice as much as 1 percentage point off inflation and ease pressure on prices caused by faster growth, Estado said, citing Mantega.

The government is also pressuring banks, steelmakers and other industries directly to keep lending rates and prices in line, Mantega said.

Mantega said bank lending and credit card rates are too high and that the government will continue to pressure bankers and credit-card issuers to cut their charges, the paper reported.

If Brazilian steelmakers, which have received a tariff increase to protect their products from imports, raise prices, the government will not hesitate to cut import tariffs back to zero.

Brazil’s state-led oil company Petrobras will report a profit of “tens of billions of reais” in 2012 and even bigger earnings in 2013 as new oil from offshore “subsalt” fields comes on line, Mantega, chairman of the Petrobras board, said.

As a result there is no immediate plan to allow Petrobras to raise further the cost of fuels such as gasoline and diesel, the newspaper said, citing Mantega. The company has increased fuel prices twice this year.

“It won’t do to think about price readjustments all the time,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t know when there will be another increase - this is something that is undefined.”

Petrobras recorded its first quarterly loss in 13 years for the three months ended June 30.

Mantega said there is no floor price for the real , which is trading near 2 reais per dollar. However, the government, while continuing to let the real float against the U.S. currency, favors current exchange levels or a weaker real, he was quoted as saying.

“The real is one of the few currencies that is not strengthening” against the dollar, he was quoted as saying. “We will not let the real strengthen.”

Efforts by the United States to kick-start its economy by injecting more, cheaper capital with a bond-buying program known as “QE3” will not be allowed to boost the real, the paper said, citing Mantega.

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