TEXT-Colombia central bank statement on interest rate decision
BOGOTA, April 25 (Reuters) - Colombia's central bank unexpectedly raised the benchmark lending rate for the first time in more than two years on Friday, as policymakers sought to ward off inflationary pressure as economic growth gathers pace.
The following is a translation by Reuters of the bank's statement accompanying the decision:
The Board of the Central Bank at its meeting today decided to raise the interest rate by 25 bp, and took it to 3.5%. For this decision, the Board took into consideration the following aspects:
In March, inflation and the average of the four basic inflation measures continued their convergence towards its target of 3 percent. For its part, inflation expectations for the year by economic analysts and those implicit in sovereign bonds, have fluctuated around the long-term inflation target.
The macroeconomic prognostic indicates that internal demand will continue growing at a good pace and that the economy will approach its full productive capacity in 2014. At the same time, the unemployment rate, not taking seasonal factors into account, has maintained its downward trend and is reaching the lowest level so far this century.