Colombia inflation expectations climb, but uptick temporary: Reuters poll - Metro US

Colombia inflation expectations climb, but uptick temporary: Reuters poll

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Expectations for Colombia’s inflation are once again climbing away from the central bank’s 3% target, further motivating the bank’s board to hold the benchmark interest rate at least through the end of the year, a Reuters survey showed on Friday.

Though analysts polled in the survey said that pressures will be temporary, their consumer prices predictions put the indicator at 3.81% at the close of the year, far from the bank’s target and well above the 3.63% estimated in last month’s survey.

The predictions come after inflation increased 0.23% in September, more than had been expected by the market.

“The current increase in inflation reflects non-fundamental transitory pressures related to the effect on supply … which we think could take several months to disappear,” said Joel Virgen, head economist for Mexico and Colombia for BNP Paribas.

Consumer prices will rise a median of 0.15% in October, the 15 analysts surveyed said, taking the 12-month figure to 3.84%.

“Food prices could continue their upward pressure in October, we could see some pressure because of depreciation (of the peso compared to the dollar) in the indicator,” said Wilson Tovar, head of economic studies for the Acciones y Valores brokerage.

Despite the increased short-term predictions, inflation expectations for next year held steady at 3.3%, with some analysts saying consumer prices will then fall closer to the target.

Those polled said the seven-member bank board will hold its interest rate at 4.25% at its meeting next week and throughout the end of 2019. The analysts expect a rate increase of 25 basis points at some point in 2020.

Analysts’ growth predictions improved slightly to 3.2% for this year, up from the 3.15% expansion predicted in the September poll.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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