UPDATE 2-Peru central bank surprises with cut to key interest rate

jueves 15 de enero de 2015 20:34 GYT

(Adds remarks and context on inflation and potential growth rate)

By Mitra Taj and Teresa Cespedes

LIMA Jan 15 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank surprised the market by cutting the benchmark interest rate 25 basis points to 3.25 percent after the global minerals exporter posted its worst monthly economic expansion since 2009.

The central bank said the move did not mean the start of a series of rate reductions.

All but one of 20 analysts polled by Reuters earlier this week said they thought the monetary authority would hold the interest rate steady for a fourth straight month to avoid stoking a steeper slide in the local sol currency .

A lower interest rate could prompt a broader sell-off of soles.

But concerns about the ongoing economic lull appear to have weighed more heavily at the central bank.

"Most recent indicators of productive activity continue showing a weak economic cycle, with GDP growth rates under potential throughout 2014 and significant drops in primary activities because of negative supply factors," the central bank said in a statement.

Earlier on Thursday, the state statistics agency released data showing the economy grew by just 0.31 percent year-on-year in November - the weakest pace since July 2009 and far from the 1.55 percent expansion forecast in a Reuters poll.   Continuación...