Colombian Peso Gains as Central Bank Reduces Dollar Purchases

Colombia’s peso rose the most in a week after the central bank said it will lower the amount of dollars it plans to purchase to stem the local currency’s gains as part of its effort to support exporters.

The peso appreciated 0.3 percent to 1,906 per U.S. dollar at the close of trading in Bogota, the biggest gain since Sept. 23. It climbed 0.9 percent this quarter, the most among major Latin American currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Central bank Governor Jose Dario Uribe told reporters after the monthly policy meeting Sept. 27 that dollar purchases will slow to no more than $1 billion from October to December from at least $2.5 billion in June to September. Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, who is also president of the bank’s board, said the Banco de la Republica will be “flexible” with dollar purchases, which won’t necessarily need to be daily.

“Investors had been expecting the central bank to announce a larger amount,” Alejandro Reyes, the head analyst at Ultrabursatiles SA brokerage in Bogota, said in a telephone interview. The peso is also subject to “erratic” movements in global markets as political wrangling over the U.S. budget threatens a potential government shutdown tomorrow, Reyes said.

Colombia’s policy makers held the target lending rate at 3.25 percent, as forecast by 29 of 32 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The decision was unanimous, said Uribe, while indicating a higher likelihood that economic growth in 2013 will be similar to last year’s 4.2 percent expansion.

Six-month interest rate swaps increased seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 3.24 percent at 1:50 p.m. in Bogota, the highest level since Aug. 30. They climbed by the same amount in the third quarter.

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