Bloomberg — Colombian inflation slowed to its lowest level in more than a year, bolstering expectations that the central bank will follow regional peers and start cutting interest rates this year.
The annual inflation rate dropped to 10.99% in September, the statistics agency said Friday, in line with the 11% median forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Consumer prices rose 0.54% from the previous month.
Colombia and Mexico are the only major economies in Latin America that haven’t lowered interest rates this year, while Brazil, Chile and Peru have all started to ease monetary policy. Even after September’s drop, Colombia’s inflation rate is still the highest among peers.
The central bank has said it wants to ensure that inflation is slowing decisively toward its 3% target before joining the rate-cutting trend. Economists are split over whether the first interest rate cut will come this month or later.
The September inflation drop probably isn’t deep enough to induce policymakers to cut interest rates in October, but a reduction at their December meeting looks likely, according to Sergio Olarte an economist at Scotiabank Colpatria.
The central bank held interest rates unchanged at 13.25% last month, against the wishes of President Gustavo Petro and Finance Minister Ricardo Bonilla, who had called for a cut.
One measure of core inflation closely watched by the central bank, which excludes volatile food prices, fell to 10.88%.
The peso has weakened more than 6% this so far this month, leading losses among emerging markets and potentially boosting inflationary pressure.
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