Tombini Classmate Reappointed as Colombia Central Bank Chief

Colombia’s central bank board today appointed Jose Dario Uribe for a final four-year term as the institution’s general manager.

Uribe, 53, has worked at the central bank since 1993, and has lead the institution since 2005. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied alongside Brazilian central bank President Alexandre Tombini. Before joining the central bank, Uribe was an economist at the country’s National Federation of Coffee Growers, or Fedecafe.

Under Uribe, the central bank’s biggest achievement has been to reduce inflation to the mid-point of its target range, and anchor inflation expectations at that level, central bank co-director Cesar Vallejo said in a telephone interview.

Consumer prices rose 3.11 percent in August from a year earlier, close to the central bank’s goal. Colombia targets inflation of 3 percent, plus or minus one percentage point. Inflation will end this year at 3 percent, according to the median estimate in a central bank survey of 39 economists this month, up from the previous month’s forecast of 2.95 percent.

“The results show how well he’s done,” said Camilo Perez, the head analyst at Banco de Bogota, the nation’s second-biggest bank. “Inflation is under control, the economy is stable and financial risk has been reduced. Growth had a boost from monetary policy when it was needed, and when it was strong, he raised rates.”

At its September policy meeting today, the central bank held its benchmark interest rate at 4.75 percent, after cutting it in July and August, citing the weak global economy. Policy makers also extended a program of $20 million daily dollar purchases through March 29, from a previous scheduled end date of Nov. 2.

Under Colombian law, central bank chiefs can serve no more than three terms.

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