Saturday, March 3, 2012

Colombia cpi inflation rate outlook february 2012

World Economic outlook - Colombia cpi inflation rate outlook february 2012 : Consumer prices in Colombia probably rose at their fastest clip in more than a year last month due to higher costs for rent, tuition and gasoline.

The country's consumer price index likely rose 0.80% in February from the previous month, according a median estimate from a Dow Jones Newswires survey of seven economists. That would be the highest inflation rate since January 2011's +0.91%. The lowest forecast pointed to 0.78% rise while the highest projected a 0.86% increase.
The government statistics agency DANE is scheduled to release CPI data Monday evening.

The February forecast would lift 12-month inflation to 3.74% from 3.54% in the 12 months through January. The Colombia central bank's inflation target for 2012 is 2% to 4%, although it would like to see it closer to the midrange of 3%.

February is historically the month with the highest increases in consumer prices in this South American nation. Landlords are allowed to increase tenants' rents in February, and it is the month most schools and universities apply new rates for tuition.

Food prices, which played a key role in last year's temporary inflation surge as torrential rains destroyed crops, probably saw comparatively small increases last month due to more normal weather patterns, said Carlos Ramos, an analyst at brokerage InterBolsa.

"Food prices may still be somewhat high...but they shouldn't be too bad," Ramos said.

Most analysts expect annual inflation to slowly tick lower this year, assuming the weather holds up.

A survey of analysts conducted last month by Colombia's central bank sees consumer inflation for 2012 ending at 3.56%, which would be below 2011's rate of 3.73%.

The central bank has increased interest rates each of the past two months to fend off inflationary pressures and to convince consumers to take out fewer loans. The benchmark interest rate now stands at 5.25%.

While the higher borrowing costs would theoretically reduce consumer credit growth, some economists argue the higher rates are causing the Colombian peso to strengthen further, which makes imported goods such as cars and television sets cheaper and might encourage consumers to purchase even more on credit. The peso is about 9% stronger against the dollar this year, at COP1,776.

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