Chile central bank seen holding benchmark rate at 5 percent
* Bank seen holding fire for 10th consecutive month * Strong domestic activity offsets global threats * Chile's economy easing more slowly than forecast * Several Latin American central banks holding rates SANTIAGO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Chile's central bank is seen holding its benchmark interest rate steady at 5.0 percent for a tenth straight month later on Tuesday as robust local economic growth offsets looming risks from a slowdown in global demand. Rates have stayed on hold since a cut in January largely because the world's No. 1 copper producer has shown better-than-expected resilience to slowing demand from top trade partner China and fallout from the euro zone's crisis. Chile's export-dependent economy this year may post growth of slightly more than the official forecast of 5 percent, Finance Minister Felipe Larrain told Reuters last week, but he kept to a growth outlook for 2013 of 4.8 percent, noting that Chile faces slowing exports to Europe. "Altogether, domestic and external risks to activity and inflation continue to broadly offset each other and this condition underpins our call for no monetary policy action for the foreseeable future," Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos said in a note to clients. "The domestic economy continues to expand at a remarkably solid pace, despite the challenging global backdrop, with demand failing to decelerate to the originally envisaged more moderate pace during (the second half of the year)," Ramos added. Chile's central bank board will release its post-meeting statement at 6 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Tuesday. At that point analysts will scour for any comments on the peso currency, last month's surprisingly high inflation, firm domestic demand, and any indications of a change in the bank's neutral stance on interest rates. Chile's benchmark interest rate is seen at 5.0 percent in five and 11 months, the bank's latest poll of analysts showed on Monday. Chile's central bank said last week it will launch a temporary program to boost the liquidity of the country's peso in financial markets to "mitigate possible tensions towards year-end". Chile's consumer prices rose by double what the market expected in October, chiefly due to the cost of food, non-alcoholic beverages, housing and electricity, the government said last week. LATIN AMERICAN CENTRAL BANKS RATES HELD Chile's central bank isn't the only one expected to hold its fire in the region. Brazil's central bank will likely keep interest rates at their current record low of 7.25 percent until at least the end of next year to help support a sluggish economic recovery, a weekly central bank survey of economists showed on Monday. Colombia's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady for a second-month running at 4.75 percent at its latest meeting on Oct. 26, given a mixed picture for domestic growth and the global economy. Peru's central bank held its benchmark interest rate steady at 4.25 percent for the 18th month in a row last week, as inflation has retreated and the economy grows near its potential.
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