Colombia central bank seen raising rate to 3%, continuing hikes in 2022
By Nelson Bocanegra
BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s central bank board is expected to raise the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 3% this week and continue increases throughout 2022 as policymakers try to tamp down above-target inflation, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.
Twenty-one analysts said in a survey a half-point increase at the board’s last meeting of the year will likely be backed by a majority of the seven policymakers though some will support a more gradual 25 basis point rise.
If the half-point rise goes ahead, the interest rate will have been raised 125 basis points since September, when the board began a cycle of increases.
“Taking into account that total inflation is at 5.26% and there will be additional inflationary pressures in the coming months, we expect the central bank to increase the rate by 50 basis points,” brokerage Alianza Valores said in a report.
“Notwithstanding, there is a possibility the increase could be 75 basis points, with a divided vote,” it added.
Consumer prices increased 5.26% in the 12 months through November, well above both expectations and the bank’s long-term target rate of 3%.
The board will probably back another rate uptick in January, the analysts said, and the rate will end next year at 5%, according to median estimates in the survey, as inflationary pressures and global supply chain difficulties continue.
The central bank predicts the Colombian economy will grow 9.8% this year, moderating to 4.7% expansion in 2022.
(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb)