UPDATE 1-Peru central bank holds key rate steady for 3rd straight month
(Adds comment from central bank, analyst, context)
LIMA May 12 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.25 percent for a third straight month on Thursday after inflation eased and economic growth quickened.
Fifteen out of 16 economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rate hold this month.
The central bank cited the sol currency's more moderate depreciation against the dollar, improved market expectations for inflation and the economic recovery.
The annual inflation rate eased last month to its slowest pace since October, though at 3.91 percent it was above the central bank's 1 percent to 3 percent target range.
Peru's central bank was the first of its regional peers to start raising interest rates last year to control inflation.
Pedro Tuesta, a Latin America analyst for 4Cast, said he expected the central bank to wait until the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates before tightening further. (Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Richard Chang)
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