Brazil\'s Central Bank hiked the benchmark interest rate by 0.50 points to 8.0 percent in a bid to control rising inflation. The bank\'s monetary policy panel on Wednesday said the increase should rein in inflation \"and help keep that trend on course into next year,\" according to an official statement. Last month, the bank\'s monetary policy committee pushed the rate up by 0.25 points to 7.5 percent, the first increase since July 2011. Experts were alarmed in March when it was confirmed that 12-month inflation reached 6.59 percent, above the official upper limit of 6.5 percent. The government is banking on GDP growth of over three percent this year, after a paltry 0.9 percent advance in 2012.