UPDATE 2-Brazil's inflation exceeds forecasts but rate cuts still in sight

(Adds economists' comments in paragraphs 6, 9-10)

SAO PAULO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's annual inflation came in slightly above market expectations in mid-November but remained within striking distance of the top end of the central bank's target range, likely allowing it to deliver further interest rate cuts.

The IPCA-15 consumer price index stood at 4.84% in the year to mid-November, data from statistics agency IBGE showed on Tuesday, up from 4.82% at the end of last month and overshooting forecasts of 4.80% in a Reuters poll of economists.

The latest figure, nonetheless, kept 12-month inflation in Latin America's largest economy close to the central bank's upper band of 4.75%, a goal private economists believe will be met this year for the first time since 2020.

Following 1,175 basis points of hikes, the central bank held its benchmark interest rate at a six-year high of 13.75% for nearly a year before kicking off a monetary easing cycle in August.

The monetary authority has so far delivered three 50-basis-point rate cuts and flagged that it should maintain the pace and reduce borrowing costs by another 50 basis points at each of its next two meetings.

"Overall, the inflation picture remains benign in Brazil, and we expect more good news ahead," said Pantheon Macroeconomics' chief Latin America economist Andres Abadia, citing the lagged effect of tighter financial conditions.

In the month to mid-November, according to IBGE, consumer prices rose 0.33% in Brazil, up from 0.21% in the previous month and above the 0.30% expected by Reuters-polled economists.

The increase was mainly driven by higher food and beverage costs, the agency said, with personal expenses and transportation prices also ticking up in the month on rises in travel-related items, such as hotels and air tickets.

"Slightly above expectations, but with a very benign qualitative reading," Inter's chief economist Rafaela Vitoria said of the monthly figure.

"The last central bank minutes left no room for it to accelerate (the pace of rate cuts), so a cut of 50 basis points in December with the bank flagging fresh equal cuts thereafter should remain the consensus."

Central bank policymakers are due to meet on Dec. 12 to 13. (Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)