February 1, 2018 / 9:38 PM / in 6 months

UPDATE 1-Chile central bank holds benchmark interest rate steady at 2.5 pct

(Adds Central Bank comment, details on inflation target)

SANTIAGO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Chile’s central bank voted unanimously to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 2.5 percent at its monthly policy meeting on Thursday, in line with market expectations.

The bank said it would leave open the possibility for increased stimulus should inflation continue to lag behind its target rate.

Chile’s inflation for the full year of 2017 was 2.3 percent, the lowest in five years and shy of the bank’s target of 3 percent.

Inflation in the world’s top copper producer is expected to remain low in the short-term, the bank added, though it said risks that it would fail to converge on its target had eased.

“Regardless, the board will remain attentive to signals that could slow convergence of inflation {towards the target} and justify additional monetary stimulus,” the bank said in a statement. (Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool)

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