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BOGOTA: Colombia's 2019 inflation figure will exceed the central bank's long-term target rate, analysts said in a Reuters poll on Friday, but policymakers will still hold the interest rate in a continuing bid to boost a slow pace of growth.

Among the 18 analysts surveyed, the median inflation forecast rose to 3.5pc for 2019, up from 3.41pc in last month's survey. The central bank's long-term target is 3pc.

The bank will hold its rate steady for the fifteenth straight month at its meeting next week, the analysts said unanimously.

Consumer price growth in July is expected to have picked up to 3.71pc, due to upticks in volatile food prices caused by a major road closures in the country's plains region, those polled said.

"To avoid having to raise rates before 2019 is over, the (central) bank needs for the increases in food prices not to translate to a waterfall phenomenon for costs," the national association for financial institutions said in a report.

Economic expansion estimates of around 3pc for the full year, below the 3.6pc anticipated by the government, will also motivate the board to hold the key rate steady, the association added.

The market expects growth of 3.15pc this year.

The majority of those polled expect the bank to keep borrowing costs steady for the remainder of the year, but a small group expect at least one rate increase before year-end.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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