* Rate held at 5.0 pct for 9th straight month in Oct
* Cbank says rates remains within neutral range
* Domestic demand remains strong - cbank
SANTIAGO, Nov 6 Chile's central bank only
considered keeping its key interest rate on hold as an option in
October, when it held it steady at 5.0 percent for a ninth
consecutive month, as expected, minutes of the meeting showed on
The rate remains within a neutral range and the decision to
keep the rate steady was unanimous, the minutes said.
"Regarding the Chilean economy's performance, all the board
members highlighted the strength of domestic demand, and in
particular consumption," the minutes added.
Chile's central bank held its key interest rate
steady last month as a buoyant domestic economy helped keep
external risks at bay.
The key interest rate is seen staying at 5.0 percent in
November and in the next three, six, 12 and 24 months, the
bank's fortnightly poll of traders showed late last month.
Firm domestic demand, a tight labor market and relatively
healthy prices for main export copper have kept Chile's
small, export-dependent economy growing at a brisk pace despite
slowing demand in top trade partner China and fallout from the
euro zone debt crisis.
Chile's economy this year may post growth of slightly more
than the official forecast of 5 percent, Finance Minister Felipe
Larrain told Reuters on Monday, but he stuck with a growth
outlook for 2013 of 4.8 percent, noting that Chile faces slowing
exports to Europe.
Unlike in previous months, the central bank's minutes made
no mention of the peso, which has appreciated around
7.7 percent versus the dollar this year.
The peso's strength remains a worry but it isn't the moment
to intervene in the foreign exchange market to stem its
appreciation, central bank president Rodrigo Vergara said in
The central bank deployed a dollar-purchasing program last
year, which lasted through December, to curb peso strength after
the currency appreciated to its highest level in more than 2-1/2
years at 465.50 per dollar.