Customer looks at food at a supermarket in Sao Paulo

Customer looks at food at a supermarket in Sao Paulo (Nacho Doce Reuters, / September 16, 2014)

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's annual inflation rate probably pierced the government's target ceiling in mid-September as airfares rose and food prices slowed their decline, according to analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll published on Tuesday.

Consumer prices are seen up 6.57 percent in the 12 months to mid-September, slightly above the 6.5 percent ceiling of the official target range, according to the median of 23 forecasts in the survey.

In the month to mid-September, consumer prices probably rose 0.35 percent, up from a 0.14 percent gain in the month to mid-August, according to the median of 28 forecasts.

The inflation data is due to release on Friday at 9 a.m. (8 a.m. EDT.)

The numbers due will probably confirm expectations that inflation is set to remain stubbornly high, keeping alive an issue of concern to voters ahead of next month's presidential elections.

Recent public opinion polls show opposition candidate Marina Silva running neck-on-neck with incumbent President Dilma Rousseff in a potential run-off vote, which would be triggered if no candidate wins a majority of votes on Oct. 5.

Price increases have also hurt consumer and business confidence over the past few years, weighing on economic growth. Until inflation starts to ease, which could still take many months, the central bank is unlikely to stimulate growth by lowering interest rates, economists say.

Most of the overall inflation increase reported for mid-September will be driven by higher airfares and a smaller decline in food prices, analysts said.

Meat prices likely rose, according to economists at MCM Consultores and Credit Suisse, as Russia's recent ban on many Western food products spared Brazil and raised prospects of stronger exports of beef, chicken and pork from the Latin American country.

Forecasts for the consumer price index rise in the month to mid-September ranged from 0.25 percent to 0.38 percent, while estimates for the 12-month inflation rate ranged from 6.47 percent to 6.60 percent.

(Reporting by Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)