UPDATE 1-Peru's central bank holds key interest rate at 3.5 pct
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LIMA Oct 15 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank held the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.50 percent as widely expected on Thursday after hiking it last month to tame currency-driven inflation.
All 14 economists polled by Reuters had forecast a hold after inflation eased and pressures on the exchange rate let up in the past month.
The central bank reiterated that it would continue to closely watch inflation to determine if another rate hike was needed.
Central Bank President Julio Velarde said last week that he did not see the need for additional tightening in the near term.
Inflation in September cooled to 3.90 percent, though it remained above the central bank's 1 percent to 3 percent target range.
Peru's central bank was the first among regional central banks to raise interest rates this year to ease inflation fueled by the currency's depreciation against the dollar.
Colombia and Chile have since also raised borrowing costs. (Reporting By Lima Newsroom; Editing by Ken Wills)
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