December 19, 2018 / 11:58 AM / 3 months ago

CORRECTED-Chile central bank unanimously agreed to maintain interest rate - minutes

(Corrects date of meeting in first paragraph to Dec. 4)

SANTIAGO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Chilean central bank policymakers weighed increasing the interest rate by 25 basis points at their Dec. 4 meeting before deciding unanimously to leave it at 2.75 percent, according to minutes released on Wednesday.

The bank began to withdraw monetary stimulus in October when it increased the rate from 2.5 to 2.75 percent, surprising traders who had only expected the move by the end of the year.

The consumer price index stayed flat in November, while inflation in the 12 months to November was 2.8 percent. Economic activity rose 4.2 percent in October from the same month a year ago.

The bank estimated the economy would grow 4 percent this year, and between 3.25 percent and 4.25 percent in 2019, while total and underlying inflation would converge at 3 percent within two years.

The committee agreed the decision to maintain the rate was in line with its pledge to withdraw stimulus “gradually and cautiously”, and that a fresh increase in the base rate “might signal urgency” not was not warranted. (Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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