Guatemala: Inflation hits one-year high in March
April 8, 2013
In March, consumer prices rose 0.48% over the previous month, which was below the 0.82% rise tallied in February. According to the statistical institute, the monthly print mainly reflects a strong increase in prices for food as well as for housing, whereas prices for alcoholic beverages and communications declined.
Annual headline inflation edged up from 4.2% in February to 4.3% in March. The print marks the highest rate since Mach 2012 but, nevertheless, still remains within the Central Bank's inflation target range of 4.0% plus/minus 1.0 percentage points for this year. Meanwhile, the core inflation index added 0.26% over the previous month (February: +0.50% month-on-month), driving annual core inflation to 3.7% (February: 3.7%).
At its 20 March monetary policy meeting, the Central Bank decided to maintain the policy interest rate unchanged at 5.00%. The Bank justified its decision citing healthy economic growth at home as well as relatively subdued inflationary pressures. That said, the Bank noted that inflation expectations have risen.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists see inflation at 4.8% by the end of the year, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month's estimate. Next year, FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect inflation to moderate to 4.7%.