January 31, 2017 / 8:21 PM / a year ago

Argentina central bank holds policy rate steady for 9th straight week

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Argentina’s central bank kept its monetary policy rate unchanged at 24.75 percent for the ninth consecutive week on Tuesday, citing “mixed signals” for inflation in January but noting improvement in the second half of the month.

Consumer prices rose about 40 percent in 2016 with the economy in recession. The central bank is targeting inflation of between 12 percent and 17 percent in 2017, though economists see it at above 20 percent.

For the third straight week, the central bank said the estimates and indicators it monitors showed “mixed signals regarding the evolution of prices” in January. This time, it added that prices “showed better behavior in the second half of the month than in the first.”

Beginning in March, the central bank will begin making interest rate decisions every two weeks, rather than every week. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Grant McCool)

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