UPDATE 2-Colombia central bank raises rates, sees faster 2014 growth

jueves 31 de julio de 2014 17:45 GYT
 

* Bank raises rates 25 bp for fourth month in row

* Lifts 2014 growth forecast to a most likely 5 pct

* Estimates growth in second quarter at 4.3 pct (Adds quote, details)

By Peter Murphy and Nelson Bocanegra

BOGOTA, July 31 (Reuters) - As expected, Colombia's central bank on Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate for a fourth straight month to keep a lid on inflation, and boosted its 2014 economic growth forecast.

The bank's policymaking board lifted the key lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 percent as it gradually withdraws monetary stimulus as growth gathers pace.

The decision had been forecast by 30 of 31 analysts in a Reuters poll this week.

The bank also raised its forecast for 2014 economic growth to between 4.2 percent and 5.8 percent, with 5 percent the most likely figure. That compares with its previous range of 4.3 percent to 5.3 percent, with 4.3 percent the most probable.

"Consumer confidence has improved, consumer credit has stopped decelerating, retail sales maintain their strong dynamic and the unemployment rate has shown a downward trend," said bank chief Jose Dario Uribe, reading the board's statement.   Continuación...