Argentina central bank holds policy rate at 27.25 pct

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Argentina’s central bank held its benchmark seven-day interbank lending rate at 27.25 percent on Tuesday, the monetary authority said in a statement, citing expectations February inflation would be higher than recent months.

The central bank has held rates twice in a row after two cuts following the government’s decision to loosen its 2018 inflation target to 15 percent, from 8 percent to 12 percent previously. The bank had said that change allowed it to moderate its contractionary bias.

“The high frequency indicators monitored by the monetary authority suggest February inflation, both the general level and core inflation, will be higher than the values in January and the final quarter of 2017,” the central bank said in a statement.

Consumer prices rose 1.8 percent in January, 3.1 percent in December, 1.4 percent in November and 1.5 percent in October. In January, 12-month inflation was 25 percent, up from 24.8 percent the prior month.

Government statistics agency Indec is expected to publish February inflation data on March 14. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)