UPDATE 2-Colombia central bank raises benchmark lending rate to 4.5 pct

viernes 29 de agosto de 2014 16:06 GYT

(Adds central bank director quote, oil output concern)

By Peter Murphy and Nelson Bocanegra

BOGOTA Aug 29 (Reuters) - Colombia's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point on Friday for the fifth straight month to keep a lid on inflation as growth quickens, but said falling oil output could begin to crimp demand in the economy.

The decision by the bank to move further away from a long stretch of monetary stimulus with a rate increase to 4.5 percent was reached by majority and was expected by 23 of 26 analysts surveyed this week in a Reuters poll.

Colombia's economic growth has been strong this year, surging 6.4 percent in the first quarter, causing the bank to raise its forecast for expansion to around 5 percent in 2014, up from 4.3 percent previously.

"With this increase of 25 basis points what we expect is to maintain inflation within the expected level of 3 percent and have stable growth around the potential level which is a figure around 5 percent," said finance minister and member of the bank's rate-setting board, Mauricio Cardenas.

The government's official growth forecast remains 4.7 percent though it says 5 percent could be achieved.

Some analysts say the string of hikes after lending rates held steady at 3.25 percent for 13 straight months, is soon to end because of headwinds from lower government revenues from oil and a weak global economy limiting demand for exports.