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Chile: 2-3 pct growth, 3.1 pct inflation this year

Chile: 2-3 pct growth, 3.1 pct inflation this year

The Central Bank says it expects Chile's economy to grow by 2 to 3 percent with 3.1 percent inflation this year as the global downturn cools its copper-dependent economy.
The bank says GDP growth will end up around 3.5 percent for 2008, short of its September estimate of 4 to 5 percent. Inflation ended 2008 at 4.5 percent.
Officials will seek policies to stem falling investment and encourage domestic consumption.
Bank president Jose de Gregorio said Wednesday in a report to Congress that the benchmark interest rate will likely be cut to 5 to 5.5 percent, after being cut 100 basis points to 7.25 percent last week.
The Bank expects the price of copper to average $1.50 a pound this year, less than half its worth last September.