May 13, 2019 / 9:55 PM / 3 months ago

Chile investigating possible manipulation of inflation figures

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile is investigating the possible manipulation of inflation figures for at least two months in 2018, state statistics agency INE said on Monday.

Guillermo Pattillo, head of the agency, told reporters that he had requested an internal investigation to establish motives and the potential impact of altering the statistics. The agency suspended the head of its consumer pricing division, Pattillo said.

“For now, only August and possibly September of 2018 appear to have been effected. We don’t have any evidence that other months were impacted, but we’re conducting a review,” he said.

“The possibility exists that in both months this may have led to a difference not greater than 0.1 percentage point in the inflation rate,” Pattillo added.

Monthly inflation in August was 0.2 percent. In September, it hit 0.3 percent.

Annual inflation in Chile has hovered for more than a year at the low end of the Central Bank’s target range and has stagnated recently as growth has slowed in Chile’s mining sector.

Chile’s state statistics agency is also responsible for conducting Chile’s census and monitoring manufacturing and copper production, among other economic indicators.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Peter Cooney

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