April 7, 2017 / 3:39 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 2-Argentine central bank chief calls for policy-tightening

(Adds quotes, current benchmark interest rate)

BUENOS AIRES, April 7 (Reuters) - Argentina's March inflation data shows the need to tighten monetary policy, central bank chief Federico Sturzenegger said on Friday, adding that the tightening had already started at the longer end of the yield curve.

"The number that we saw in March basically convinced us that we have to go and tighten monetary policy, which we have already done," Sturzenegger told business leaders at a meeting of the World Economic Forum. "We have already done a tightening over the last month in the longer part of our yield curve."

The peso currency firmed slightly on the news to 15.37 per U.S. dollar.

March consumer price data is scheduled for release on Tuesday. Inflation expectations in Argentina for 2017 rose slightly to 21.2 percent from 20.8 percent a month earlier, a central bank poll of economists showed this week, well above the 17 percent upper band of the bank's target.

The central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 24.75 percent at its March 21 policy meeting and said it remained cautious about monetary policy because of volatility in monthly inflation.

Reporting by Luc Cohen and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Von Ahn

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