November 2, 2019 / 12:24 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Colombia inflation may take longer to fall - central bank minutes

(Adds updated bank estimate for 2019 inflation)

BOGOTA, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Some members of Colombia’s central bank board believe inflation may take longer to fall toward the bank’s 3% target than had originally been predicted, minutes from the group’s latest meeting showed on Friday.

The seven-member board voted unanimously on Thursday to keep borrowing costs at 4.25%, part of a long-running effort to boost growth despite temporary increases in inflation and the depreciation of the peso currency.

Inflation reached 3.82% in the year to September and it is likely to finish the year at near that level, the bank said in its quarterly monetary policy report, also released on Friday.

“At the end of 2019 inflation will be situated close to the current level of 3.8% and at the start of 2020 it will retake its convergence to the target of 3%,” the report said.

The minutes showed some policymakers disagreed, however.

“Some board members signaled that even though they expect inflation to converge to the target next year, there are risks (convergence) will be slower than initially expected by the bank’s technical team,” the minutes said.

Consumer prices look set to remain far from the target in the coming months, the minutes said, but will fall once “temporary supply shocks are diluted.”

Analysts’ inflation expectations in an October Reuters survey were up to 3.81% for the close of the year, from 3.63% in the prior poll.

October consumer price figures will be released on Tuesday.

Policymakers have held the benchmark interest rate since April 2018 to bolster sluggish growth and they are expected to continue that policy until sometime in 2020.

The bank raised its annual GDP growth estimate to 3.2% from 3% in September, but its figure is still below the government target of 3.6%.

The current account deficit as a percentage of GDP will end 2019 at 4.5% and 2020 at 4.6%, the report said. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)

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