BUENOS AIRES Dec 27 Argentina's central bank
kept its benchmark 35-day interest rate at 24.75 percent for the
fourth week in a row on Tuesday, saying inflation was falling
closer to its target.
That marked its final rate decision of 2016, which saw
interest rates as high as 38 percent earlier in the year in a
bid to combat inflation. Economists project inflation ending the
year at 40 percent. The central bank is targeting inflation
between 12 and 17 percent in 2017, though economists see it
reaching 20.2 percent.
The bank has a goal of average monthly inflation of 1.5
percent for the final three months of 2016.
In a statement, the central bank said average monthly
inflation was below 1.5 percent between July and November, and
said December inflation would likely be lower than that, meaning
the central bank would achieve its goal. Consumer prices rose
2.4 percent in October and 1.6 percent in November.
Next week, the central bank will change its reference rate
from the interest rate on 35-day Lebac securities to the 7-day
interbank lending rate, and will now auction off Lebac once a
month rather than every week.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Sandra Maler)