UPDATE 1-Chile annual inflation slows to 0.9 pct, lowest in years
SANTIAGO, June 7 (Reuters) - Chile's consumer price index was unchanged in in May, coming in below a forecast 0.1 percent rise, as falls in prices of housing, water, electricity and fuel were offset by increases in foods and non-alcoholic beverages, the government said on Friday. Inflation in the 12 months through May came in at 0.9 percent, below the bottom end of the central bank's 2 percent to 4 percent tolerance range and the lowest since at least January 2011, when a new methodology was adopted. Low inflation and a sharper-than-forecast economic slowdown led the central bank to consider lowering its key interest rate from its current 5 percent in May. Chilean traders are forecasting a quarter-percentage point rate cut to 4.75 percent in 12 months' time, a central bank poll released last month showed. Core inflation was 0.1 percent in May, the INE statistics agency added on Friday. Elsewhere in the region, Brazil's benchmark IPCA consumer price index rose 6.50 percent in the 12 months through May, nearly unchanged from 6.49 percent in April and in line with analysts' forecasts, government statistics agency IBGE said on Friday.
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