Chile’s central bank said it will consider the peso’s “very important” depreciation, which currently ranks among the world’s worst, at next week’s monetary policy meeting.
(Bloomberg) — Chile’s central bank said it will consider the peso’s “very important” depreciation, which currently ranks among the world’s worst, at next week’s monetary policy meeting.
The international outlook is complex and uncertainty is running high, Chile’s central bank wrote Tuesday night in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. Global financial markets have reacted to factors including tight monetary policy in advanced economies and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, prompting the dollar to strengthen and financial conditions to become more restrictive worldwide.
“The Chilean market has not been the exception. The peso has seen a very important depreciation and long-term interest rates have risen,” the central bank wrote. “The impact on the economy’s development from the important depreciation of the peso, together with the rise in the price of some commodities like oil, will be analyzed in the framework of the monetary policy decision.”
Policymakers “constantly review the implications of these elements on the inflation projections and the convergence of inflation to target,” the central bank wrote.
The peso has tumbled 13% in the past three months, the biggest rout among all currencies after Argentina. The exchange rate has weakened on factors including the Chilean central bank’s own interest rate cuts, as well as chances of further monetary tightening in the US and growth concerns in China. The currency drop has raised analyst concerns of firming inflation by year’s end.
Read more: Chile Finance Head Downplays Inflation Risks From Currency Slump
Chile’s economy has been resolving its imbalances, and inflation has eased, the central bank wrote Tuesday.
Central bankers lowered borrowing costs by 175 basis points in its past two meetings, to 9.5%, and have signaled more cuts will come. The next monetary policy decision will be on Oct. 26.
Annual inflation has eased steadily since hitting a three-decade high of 14.1% last year, and currently stands at 5.1%. Chile’s central bank targets cost-of-living increases at 3%.
Finance Minister Mario Marcel has played down the impact of the peso plunge on inflation, saying in a Bloomberg News interview last week that short-term currency weakness is unlikely to divert the central bank’s plans to cut rates.
The peso closed at 937.67 per dollar on Tuesday after hitting a year-to-date intraday low of 953.35. Economists in an October central bank survey see it strengthening to 900 in two months and 850 in 11 months.
In June, Chile’s central bank said it planned to boost its depleted foreign currency reserves by 25%, adding $10 billion to coffers through daily purchases of $40 million which have also weighed on the peso.
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