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LIMA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank likely will raise the benchmark interest rate to 3.75 percent at its policy meeting on Thursday after inflation spiked to a nearly four-year high, a Reuters poll showed Monday.
Fifteen out of 17 economists said they expected the central bank to hike the key rate by 25 basis points. The remaining two analysts forecast a rate hold at 3.50 percent for the third month in a row.
The central bank said in November that it would raise the interest rate this month if inflation rose more quickly than had been expected.
Since then, the annual inflation rate jumped to 4.17 percent on a spike in food costs, well above the central bank's 1 to 3 percent target range.
According to a central bank poll, analyst expectations for 2015 and 2016 inflation held steady at 3.8 and 3.2 percent, respectively. The survey was conducted before November inflation was released and was the first to include October's relatively low rise in consumer prices.
The central bank hiked the interest rate for the first time in four years in September after the sol currency's depreciation fanned inflation.
The sol has continued its slide against the dollar and is now trading near a 10-year low, despite interventions in the spot market by the central bank.
Reporting By Ursula Scollo; Editing by Diane Craft