By Nelson Bocanegra
BOGOTA (Reuters) – Analysts are split between those who expect Colombia’s central bank to moderately raise its benchmark interest rate next week and others who foresee a hike in line with previous moves amid fresh inflationary growth, a Reuters poll revealed on Friday.
Eight of the 17 analysts polled forecast the central bank will raise the benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points, taking it to 10%, while another eight expect a hike of 150 basis points – as in previous meetings – which would take the rate to 10.50%.
One analyst found themselves in the middle, betting on a raise of 125 basis points, which would leave the benchmark rate at 10.25%.
Raising the rate by 100 basis points would take it to its highest level since July 2008; increasing it by 150 basis points would see it at the highest since July 2001, according to figures from the central bank.
“Inflation in July and August continued to surprise to the upside by a wide margin (especially in August) and suggests that the bank’s recent forecasts for the coming quarters will have to be substantially revised upwards,” said Andres Pardo, XP Investments chief macro strategist for Latin America.
Movements in Colombia’s interest rate are aligned with monetary policy in the United States and Europe, amid dynamic local consumption and depreciation of the Colombian peso, which has fallen 10% in 2022, helping to push 12-month inflation to 10.84% in August.
Colombia’s inflation is at its highest level since April 1999 and more than triple the central bank’s 3% target.
The monetary policy authority has raised its benchmark interest rate by 725 basis points to 9% since September last year.
The median forecast from the poll sees the rate closing the year at 11%, before the bank board gradually cuts it to 8.25% in 2023.
(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Diane Craft)