LIMA, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank is "happy" with official inflation readings in the past two months, the bank's president said Monday, signaling it would hold the benchmark interest rate steady next week.
The annual inflation rate eased to 3.66 percent in October, still above the central bank's 1 to 3 percent target range but under the three-year high of 4.04 percent reached in August.
"We're happy with inflation in September as well as October," Central Bank President Julio Velarde said, adding that the consumer price index rose just 0.17 percent in the two-month period.
Velarde said he expects the annual inflation rate to cool to under the 3 percent target ceiling next year, unless the weather pattern El Nino turns out to be disastrous.
The central bank hiked the interest rate for the first time in four years in September, raising it to 3.50 percent. Velarde said Oct. 5 that the monetary authority would likely keep the key rate steady in the near term. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Editing by James Dalgleish)