BOGOTA, March 17 (Reuters) - Colombia's benchmark interest rate is situated at the ideal level for the economy, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on Tuesday, after a recent acceleration of inflation and slowing of economic growth in the fourth quarter.
Colombia's economy has entered a transition phase towards more moderate growth due to the impact of lower prices for crude oil, the Andean country's top export, Cardenas told reporters after the release of 2014 gross domestic product data on Tuesday.
Economic output rose 4.6 percent last year and is forecast to increase 4.2 percent this year, the government said.
"Interest rates are at a level that gives us reassurance in terms of meeting objectives for growth and objectives for inflation," he said.
A Reuters survey of analysts on Monday showed the market expects the central bank to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged for the seventh month at 4.5 percent when its monetary policy board meets on Friday. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Alan Crosby)