March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Peruvian inflation accelerated for the first time in three months in February as food prices rose after flooding damaged crops and blocked roads.
Consumer prices rose 0.32 percent after falling 0.1 percent in January, the national statistics agency said in an e-mailed report. The median estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.30 percent gain. Prices rose 4.2 percent from a year ago.
Food prices rose 0.4 percent after rainfall in the Peruvian Andes flooded farms and damaged roads and bridges used to transport produce, the agency said. A quickening in inflation will be temporary, allowing the central bank to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged while it assesses the impact of slower global growth on the Peruvian economy, said Mario Guerrero, an economist at Scotiabank Peru in Lima.
“Rates will probably stay unchanged all year,” Guerrero said in a phone interview before the report’s release. “Demand pressures on inflation haven’t been very significant. It’s mainly pressure from supply.”
Peru’s economy expanded an annual 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace in two years, as weaker private investment and a fall in government outlays offset rising household demand.
Inflation will accelerate again this month, and may match the 0.7 percent rise registered in March 2011 on increases in the cost of fuel, electricity and schooling, Guerrero said.
The yield on the nation’s benchmark 7.84 percent sol-denominated bond due August 2020 fell for a seventh day, declining one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 5.46 percent at 9:48 a.m. in Lima, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.
The Peruvian sol was little changed at 2.6730 per U.S. dollar, according to Deutsche Bank AG’s local unit.
Electricity prices rose 3.7 percent last month while clothing advanced 0.5 percent, the agency said.
The government’s consumer price index is based on a survey of establishments conducted in the Lima Metropolitan area. Food and drink prices constitute 38 percent of the index.
In a separate report, the agency said cement demand rose 4.5 percent in January from a year earlier and electricity output climbed 6.4 percent while fishing activity contracted 8.4 percent and mining shrank 1.5 percent. Exports jumped 31 percent and imports rose 21 percent, the agency said.
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