UPDATE 1-Chile inflation rises sharply, ahead of forecast

viernes 7 de marzo de 2014 08:46 GYT

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SANTIAGO, March 7 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Chile rose much quicker than the market had expected in February, as the effects of a weaker peso began to feed through to the real economy.

Monthly inflation rose 0.5 percent in February, well above a Reuters forecast for a 0.2 percent rise, the national statistics institute said on Friday.

A recent depreciation of the peso has spurred an uptick in the cost of imported goods, including cars, fuel, and food, the government said. It also pointed to higher prices for liquefied natural gas after the cold U.S. winter.

The peso weakened as much as 6 percent in the early part of 2014, following on from a 9 percent fall in 2013.

Inflation in the 12 months to February was 3.2 percent, within the central bank's 2 percent to 4 percent target range but above the halfway point.

It is the first time inflation has broke through the 3 percent mark since May 2012.

The central bank has repeatedly said in its monetary policy meetings it would consider stimulus to ensure inflation stood at 3 percent on the policy horizon.   Continuación...