UPDATE 3-Peru cenbank hikes interest rate for first time in 4 years
(Adds quotes from central bank, analyst)
LIMA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank unexpectedly hiked its benchmark interest rate for the first time in four years on Thursday to tame currency-driven inflation, and said there was scope for further increases.
The 25-basis-point hike, to 3.50 percent, was forecast by only three out of 14 analysts polled by Reuters this week.
The central bank said it could raise the rate again to bring inflation back into its 1-3 percent target range but stressed the increase did not mark the start of a tightening cycle.
One analyst said he anticipated a second hike before the end of the year.
Policy remained expansive, the central bank said, with the new level equivalent to a real interest rate of 0.5 percent.
"The board is closely watching inflation forecast and its determinants to consider, if necessary, additional adjustments to the benchmark interest rate," the central bank said in a statement.
However, it added that inflation has been driven by the sol currency's depreciation and food supply shocks, and said those "factors that shouldn't generally translate to prices in the rest of the economy."
Peru's rate increase comes amid continued uncertainty over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its policy meeting next week. Continuación...