January 30, 2019 / 9:52 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Chile central bank hikes key interest rate to 3 pct

(Updates with quotes from central bank statement, background)

SANTIAGO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Chilean central bank policymakers decided unanimously to raise the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.00 percent on Wednesday, in line with market expectations.

The bank’s decision followed another rise in October, the first since 2015.

“The decision ... considered the evolving macroeconomic conditions, which continue to justify a gradual reduction in monetary stimulus,” the bank said in a statement.

Policymakers said they would closely watch the impact of global trends on the Chilean economy and consumer prices.

Inflation in the 12 months to December was 2.6 percent, remaining on the lower end of the central bank’s target range of 2 to 4 percent.

A traders’ poll conducted last week suggested the bank would increase the benchmark rate this month, and then again to 3.50 by year’s end, amid a gradual rise in inflation and a strengthening economy. (Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)

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