Some Colombian central bank board members wanted half point rate cut

BOGOTA Fri Jan 4, 2013 11:16am EST

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BOGOTA Jan 4 (Reuters) - Some members of Colombia's central bank called for half-point cut in the benchmark lending rate at last month's policy meeting as economic growth showed signs of "ostensible deterioration," the minutes showed.

The seven-member board on Dec. 21 voted to reduce the lending rate a quarter point to 4.25 percent after surprisingly weak third quarter data for gross domestic product showed the economy had slowed more than expected.

After keeping the rate steady since August, the bank last month cut borrowing costs, joining countries like Brazil that sought to shield their domestic economies from slack demand overseas.

Feeble quarterly numbers in construction, mining and civil works set off alarms that the global crisis had hit Colombia harder than previously thought and may further damage the nation's economic drivers in the coming months.

The central bank said growth in 2012 would likely be less than 4 percent.

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