For the first time since last September, the inflation rate in Colombia landed within the central bank’s target range, dropping to 3.68% year-over-year, according to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE).
This is down from the 4.09% inflation experienced in 2017 and brings the rate back into 2%-4% target set by the Banco de la República, which has forecast inflation to finish 2018 at 3.47% and fall further to 3.33% by the end of 2019.
Overall, the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.63% in January, well below the 1.02% seen in January 2017 and 1.29% in January 2016.
The CPI category that saw the largest increase over the past month was food prices, which jumped by 1.20%. This, however, was below the 1.62% increase seen last January and well below the 2.82% seen in January 2016, when the effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon wrecked havoc on crops.
The biggest price spikes in terms individual foods were seen in tomatoes (up 21.77%), oranges (11.40%), and carrots (11.21%).
Healthcare (1.16%) and transportation (0.70%) ranked second and third in terms of rising prices.
The smallest price increases in January came in the categories of education (0.01%), communications (0.04%), and clothing (0.07%).
This month, the central bank, in a 4-3 vote among its members, opted to lower the nation’s benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.50%. The Banco de la República noted that this would be the final reduction of a rate-cutting cycle that began in December 2016, when the Bogotá-based institution began prioritizing the threat of slow economic growth above Colombia’s then-high inflation rate.
(Credit: Jared Wade)