SANTIAGO, June 3 (Reuters) - Chile’s central bank said on Wednesday that it could take longer than anticipated to gradually start hiking the key interest rate, as economic growth has been slower than previously forecast and inflation has been quicker to cool.
In its quarterly Monetary Policy Report (IPoM), the bank cut its view for 2015 economic growth in the top copper producer to a range of 2.25-3.25 percent, from a prior forecast of 2.5-3.5 percent, citing soft private spending and devastating March floods in Chile’s north.
The bank sees annual inflation ending the year at 3.4 percent, from a previous view of 3.6 percent.
“Somewhat lower dynamism of activity and a somewhat faster convergence of inflation suggests that, if our base scenario assumptions are right, the discussion on the gradual withdrawal of monetary stimulus could be delayed beyond that suggested in March,” the report said. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)