UPDATE 2-Peru cenbank weighs interest rate hike as early as next month

viernes 14 de agosto de 2015 16:48 GYT

(Recasts to include focus on timing of rate hike, adds context and details)

By Mitra Taj

LIMA Aug 14 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank said on Friday it was considering raising its benchmark interest rate as early as next month amid higher inflation expectations and an expected tightening of monetary policy in the United States.

The central bank held the key rate at 3.25 percent for the seventh month in a row on Thursday, a level Central Bank Chief Economist Adrian Armas called "very expansive."

But the slipping sol currency has fueled inflation, a trend that could continue as the U.S. Federal Reserve gets closer to a possible raising of interest rates.

"The conversation ... is when the bank is going to start that withdrawal of monetary stimulus through an increase in the benchmark interest rate," Armas said in a conference call with reporters.

A rate hike could come as soon as next month, Armas said.

"We're going to see what new information we have between now and the next monetary policy meeting on September 10...to make a decision," Armas said. "The latest data we're observing raises the probability that the withdrawal happens sooner."

The central bank lowered the interest rate by 25 basis points four times in the past two years to counter a sharp economic slowdown.   Continuación...