February 14, 2017 / 8:20 PM / a year ago

Argentina central bank holds policy rate steady for 11th week

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Argentina’s central bank kept its monetary policy rate unchanged at 24.75 percent for the eleventh consecutive week on Tuesday, saying consumer price expectations showed “mixed signals.”

Consumer prices in greater Buenos Aires rose 1.3 percent in January, far below expectations.

Even so, the monetary authority “considered it convenient to maintain a cautious attitude,” the central bank statement said.

Inflation expectations for 2017 fell slightly to 20.8 percent, a central bank poll of economists showed last week, down from 21 percent a month earlier but well above the bank’s target.

The bank is targeting inflation of between 12 percent and 17 percent in 2017. Consumer prices rose about 40 percent in 2016 with the economy in recession.

Beginning in March, the central bank will make interest rate decisions every two weeks, rather than every week, as it moves to normalize monetary policy. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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