Peru's consumer price inflation picks up pace in August
* Inflation in 12 months through August rises to 3.53 pct
* Interest rates steady for last 15 months
LIMA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Peru's consumer price index rose an unexpectedly high 0.51 percent in August from the previous month as food and energy costs drove prices higher, the government's statistics agency said on Saturday.
A Reuters poll of economic analysts had forecast inflation of 0.24 percent for last month. In July, Peru's benchmark IPC consumer price index rose 0.09 percent.
Price increases in metropolitan Lima, which the central bank uses to guide monetary policy, were at 2.14 percent for the first eight months of this year, the INEI statistics agency said.
Heavily weighted food prices jumped 0.93 percent in August, while the cost of fuel, electricity and housing rentals rose 0.90 percent.
A historic drought across the U.S. grains belt and poor rains in India, Russia and Australia have boosted global grains prices and stirred concerns over food supplies.
In Peru, consumer prices in the 12 months through August were up 3.53 percent, compared with 3.28 percent in the 12-month period through July.
Peru's central bank expects 12-month inflation to fall back into its target range of between 1 percent and 3 percent by the end of the year.
The central bank has held its benchmark interest rate at 4.25 percent for the past 15 months and is expected to keep rates steady again when it meets next week.
Peru's government expects 2012 economic growth to be 6 percent, below 2011's 6.92 percent but still one of the fastest rates in Latin America.
The next monetary policy meeting is due to be held on Thursday.
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