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Peru’s Consumer Prices Rose Less Than Expected in January

Peruvian consumer prices rose less than economists expected last month, fueling speculation the central bank will keep borrowing costs on hold.

Consumer prices increased 0.12 percent from December and climbed 2.87 percent from the same month a year earlier, the national statistics agency said in an e-mailed statement today. Economists expected a 0.19 percent increase on the month and a 2.94 percent rise on the year, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The central bank held its benchmark lending rate at 4.25 percent for a 20th consecutive month on Jan. 10 on the expectation inflation will slow to 2 percent this year. The bank’s board next meets Feb. 7.

“Looking at the activity indicators and prices, in theory they shouldn’t change interest rates,” said Mario Guerrero, an economist at Scotiabank Peru SA.

The central bank increased lenders’ reserve requirements for a second straight month Jan. 30 as part of an effort to weaken the sol.

Gross domestic product will rise as much as 6.3 percent this year, which is below the economy’s potential growth rate, and the bank doesn’t see inflationary pressures, central bank President Julio Velarde said in a Jan. 30 interview.

“We don’t see a need for a dramatic change of rates now,” he said.

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