BUENOS AIRES, March 7 Argentina's central bank
kept its monetary policy rate unchanged at 24.75 percent on
Tuesday, noting that volatility in monthly consumer price
changes warranted a cautious attitude and reiterating that
inflation likely ticked up in February.
In a statement, the central bank also noted that economists'
median inflation expectations in its monthly survey remained at
20.8 percent for 2017, above its target range of 12-17 percent.
Consumer prices rose around 40 percent annually in 2016.
The central bank had previously warned that February
inflation would be higher than in recent months, due largely to
increases in regulated prices. The government hiked electricity
rates last month as part of its effort to cut subsidies and
reduce the fiscal deficit.
But the monetary authority added that the indicators it
monitors suggested that "during the month of March the
disinflation process would take place within the central bank's
Consumer prices in greater Buenos Aires rose 1.3 percent in
January, 1.2 percent in December and 1.6 percent in November.
The central bank has kept rates unchanged since late
This month, the central bank began making interest rate
decisions every two weeks, rather than every week, as it moves
to provide more stability and certainty.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Richard Chang)