February 16, 2018 / 12:08 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Chile cenbank unanimous in leaving rates unchanged-minutes

(Adds context for unanimous decision, quote from minutes, details on previous year activity and poll data.)

SANTIAGO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Chilean central bank policymakers decided unanimously to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 2.5 percent in January but the committee considered a 25-basis-point cut, minutes of that month’s meeting showed on Friday.

The bank said its decision was based on improvements in Chile’s IPSA blue chip stock market, a strengthening peso and more optimistic business expectations, “with improvements in every sector.”

“For the time being it could be thought that the possibility of risk scenarios had been decreased,” the minutes said.

The bank has left interest rates unchanged since mid-2017, following a 100-basis point cut in the first quarter of that year.

Analysts and traders polled by Chile’s central bank expect the institution to raise its benchmark interest rate to 2.75 percent within 11 months. {nEMNI1P0S6}

Inflation is predicted to increase only slightly amid a gradual economic recovery in Chile, according to an analysts poll earlier this week. (Reporting by Santiago Newsroom; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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