Chilean Consumer Prices Rose Faster Than Forecast in January

Chile’s consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in January, exceeding estimates made by analysts as transport and utility costs gained, the National Statistics Institute said.

The median estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for prices to increase 0.1 percent from the previous month. Annual inflation accelerated to 1.6 percent from 1.5 percent in December, the statistics agency said in a report today. Core consumer prices, which exclude fuel and produce, increased 0.1 percent in January from December.

Chile ended last year with the lowest inflation rate among major Latin American countries and the fastest economic growth behind Peru, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Economic gains eventually will put pressure on consumer prices, forcing the central bank board to act, Alfredo Coutino, Latin America director at Moody’s Analytics, wrote Feb. 6.

“If fiscal and monetary policymakers do not respond soon, inflation could start to rise before the middle of 2013,” Coutino wrote in a note e-mailed to investors.

Two-year breakeven inflation, which is derived from the difference between nominal and inflation-linked yields on swaps, increased 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point, to 2.83 percent yesterday from the end of last year. Policy makers target 3 percent inflation, plus or minus one percentage point over 24 months.

The world’s top copper producer will grow 4.5 percent in 2013 after expanding an estimated 5.45 percent in 2012, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The economists estimate the key interest rate will increase to 5.25 percent by the end of 2013 from today’s 5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at rwoods13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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