Central Bank President Predicts Higher Inflation

April 15, 2005

IN January, Central Bank PresidentFrancisco de Paula Gutiérrez estimatedthat inflation would reach 10% this year,down from 13.13% in 2004 (TT, Dec. 24,2004). This month, however, Gutiérrezsaid it will be difficult to achieve thatgoal given the inflation during the firsttwo months of the year.Inflation for January and Februaryreached 3.08%. Because of this, Gutiérreztold La Nación, the bank’s previous estimatesare now in doubt.He maintained it is still possible toachieve the 10% rate if inflation stabilizesduring the second semester of the year,and told the daily some of the inflation inthe first two months was caused by continuingeffects of last year’s events, suchas a 2004 hike in public-sector salaries.He also expressed concern about theinternational price of petroleum. Thebank estimated a yearly average of $50per barrel, but the price is currently atapproximately $54.

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