Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, reported a lower than expected increase in profit in the first quarter as earnings slipped in the US and fell sharply in Brazil, its two largest markets. 

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona makes more than a quarter of the world's beer.

It said today that its core profit was $4.81 billion, up 5.8% on a like-for-like basis, but lower than the $4.88 billion average forecast in a Reuters poll. 

After two years of falling sales, beer volumes actually picked up in Brazil, but revenue per hectolitre dropped as state tax increases were not fully passed on to customers. 

AB InBev also took a hit from a near 40% decline of the Brazilian real to the dollar, as half of its cost of sales there are dollar-denominated. 

The company said it remained optimistic about Brazil in the long run, and for 2017 said it would see improved revenue per hectolitre and see cost of sales per hectolitre growth ease to between zero and a low single-digit percentage increase. 

In the US, AB InBev saw lower volumes as Bud Light and Budweiser both lost market share. 

Profit also slipped although the margin increased with strong sales of higher-priced Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois and craft beers. 

Among the positives were increased volumes and earnings in Mexico, a huge expansion of margins in South Africa, one of its new markets, and a strong start to the year in China. 

The company paid nearly $100 billion to take over SABMiller last year and is now more than double the size globally of nearest rival Heineken.

It retained its outlook today, including a forecast of accelerated revenue growth this year.