Some Colombia central bank members suggest room for "monetary boost"
BOGOTA Dec 13 (Reuters) - Some members of Colombia's central bank board said there could be room for additional monetary measures if inflation drops further and economic growth remains steady or weakens, the minutes of the last policy meeting published on Friday showed, an indication that policymakers could consider another rate cut.
The seven-member board opted to hold the benchmark lending rate steady at 3.25 percent at the last meeting on Nov. 29 but some directors noted that economic signs had been mixed.
"Some emphasized the fact that the information available as of the previous board meeting had shown mixed signals with variables that performed better than expected and others that were below the expectations," according to the minutes.
"They also thought that if the information available in the future suggests a consolidation of expectations of a downturn in inflation with a growth that is equally or less than expected, there would be room for a monetary boost that is greater than the current one."
In a unanimous decision, the bank's policy-setting board maintained the rate last month on signs domestic demand was being supported by previous rate cuts and inflation expectations were converging toward a long-term goal of three percent.
Colombia registered annual inflation of 1.76 percent in the 12 months through November, below the bottom rung of the bank's target range of two percent to four percent.
In October, the month analyzed by the bank, there had been an "unexpected, sharp drop" to 1.84 percent from 2.27 percent in September, the minutes said.
"Basically there is a more dovish tone based on the low inflation, so the risk of another cut has increased significantly," said Pedro Tuesta, a Latin America strategist for consultancy 4Cast in Washington.
The economy expanded 4.2 percent in the second quarter and the bank expects growth in the third quarter to come in between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent. The government will reveal GDP growth for the third quarter on Thursday.
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