BRASILIA, June 19 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank chose on Wednesday to halt a rate-cutting cycle started last August as inflation expectations have risen and Brazilian financial markets slipped on struggles to balance the federal budget while U.S. rate cuts look more distant.

The bank's rate-setting committee, known as Copom, held the Selic benchmark interest rate at 10.50% in a unanimous decision. In a Reuters survey of 40 economists, 34 predicted the pause, while six had projected a cut of 25 basis points. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres Editing by Brad Haynes)