Chile Holds Key Rate At 2.5% For 2nd Meeting


Chile’s central bank kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 2.50 percent in its July 13th, 2017 meeting following no change in its June meeting and a 25 bps cut in May. The outcome matched consensus expectations, and leaves the interest rate standing at its lowest level since September of 2010. Policymakers reiterated that inflation stood at 1.7 percent year-on-year in June, easing from 2.6 percent in May. Members of the board did not adopt an explicit bias on this occasion.

Chile's consumer prices increased 1.7 percent year-on-year in June of 2017, easing from a 2.6 percent rise in the previous month. It was the lowest inflation rate since October of 2013. Annual core inflation advanced 2 percent, following a 2.5 percent rise in the previous month. On a monthly basis, consumer prices went down 0.4 percent compared to a 0.1 percent gain in May. The central bank predicts year-end inflation of 2.7 percent in 2017.

In its March quarterly inflation report, the central bank lowered GDP estimates, while leaving unchanged inflation forecasts. The central bank dropped its bias on this occasion, recognizing that copper prices have improved but construction and mining activity remain weak.

Statement from the Central Bank of Chile:

Internationally, long-term interest rates increased, but financial conditions remain favorable. In general, news was consistent with the scenario of gradual recovery in global activity. The copper price rose, while the oil price, beyond fluctuations, trades near its levels of last month.

On the domestic front, most noteworthy was June’s monthly inflation at –0.4%, heavily influenced by the behavior of prices of fresh fruits and vegetables and some other products, which resulted in y-o-y inflation standing at 1.7%. Inflation expectations at shorter terms have dropped, but at the end of the projection horizon are near the target. Partial second-quarter figures for activity and demand are consistent with forecasts, and reflect the negative impact of mining and construction. Private consumption growth remains stable, in line with the performance of the labor market.

The Board reiterates its commitment to conduct monetary policy with flexibility, so that projected inflation stands at 3% over the policy horizon. Any future changes in the monetary policy rate will depend on the implications of domestic and external macroeconomic conditions on the inflationary outlook.

Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com
7/13/2017 11:01:51 PM