Chile Cuts Interest Rate To 3.0%


The Chilean Central Bank cut the key rate to 3.0 percent on March 16th of 2017 after leaving the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) unchanged in February in an attempt to boost growth amid a slowdown in inflation. The decision matched expectations. In the press release, the central bank stressed that inflation remains within target and that economic activity remains sluggish. Policymakers underscored that further easing could be seen if current macroeconomic and inflationary trends persist.

Inflation came at 2.7 percent in February, marginally down from January’s 2.8 percent and within the central bank’s target of 2.0-4.0 percent. Core inflation dropped from 2.7 percent in January to 2.3 percent in February, the lowest figure since December 2013. The Central Bank predicts year-end inflation of 2.7% in 2017.

The latest economic survey by the Chilean Central Bank showed that although analysts kept unchanged their 2018 GDP estimate, recent data led them to lower their growth expectations for this year. Industrial production returned to the red in January, falling 0.9 percent year-on-year after growing 1.4 percent in the previous month. Mining dropped 1.9 percent and manufacturing fell 1.1 percent.  

Statement by the Central Bank of Chile:

Internationally, global financial conditions have remained favorable. In the developed world, inicators continue to point to a scenario of stronger growth and higher inflation. In this context, expectations of a monetary policy normalization have strenghtened, especially in the US. Commodity prices decreased, most notably oil. Overall, imporant risks persist.

On the domestic front, annual inflation was 2.7%, in line with forecasts in December's Monetary Policy Report. Inflation expectations at the end of the projecdtion horizon are near the target, although for the coming months they are in the lower part of the tolerance range. Activity and demand indicators remain weak. In the labor market, salaried employment deteriorated further, although the unemployment rate remained stable.

The Board estimates that, if the recent trends of the economic scenario persist, and so their implications on the medium-term inflation outlook, it could be necessary to increase the monetary impulse. At the same time, it reiterates its commitment to conduct monetary policy with flexibility, so that projected inflation stands at 3% over the policy horizon.


Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com
3/16/2017 9:17:55 PM