UPDATE 1-Chile central bank says economy poised for better growth

martes 10 de marzo de 2015 19:15 GYT

(Adds central bank president's comments, background)

SANTIAGO, March 10 (Reuters) - Chile's economy is showing signs of a moderate recovery and is on a "good footing to start a process of more intense growth," central bank president Rodrigo Vergara said on Tuesday.

The convergence of annual inflation towards the bank's 2 to 4 percent target range will take more time than initially anticipated, Vergara told reporters on the sidelines of an event organized by Bloomberg.

Chile's economy, which relies heavily on copper exports and consumer demand, expanded 1.8 percent in 2014, the slowest since a 2009 recession.

However, the IMACEC economic activity index, which covers about 90 percent of the economy tallied by gross domestic product figures, picked up in December and January, expanding 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, from the same month a year ago.

Asked about the Chilean peso's depreciation versus the U.S. dollar over the last two years, Vergara said it was important for the adjustment to happen.

"Chile has made the adjustment, the tradable sector has started to develop, our current account deficit has fallen significantly and therefore we are on good footing to start a process of more intense growth in the coming quarters."

Consumer prices are seen rising a hefty 0.7 percent in March, while the key interest rate is seen staying on hold at its current 3.0 percent through the rest of the year, a monthly central bank poll of analysts showed earlier on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Grant McCool and Andre Grenon)