BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s central bank board is expected to raise the benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points to 6% at its meeting on Friday as it continues its hikes in response to pressure persistent inflationary.

Some analysts haven’t ruled out a steeper rise in borrowing costs to rein in inflation – which stood at 8.53% in the 12 months to March, nearly triple the target 3% from the central bank.

Fifteen analysts polled in a recent Reuters poll agreed the seven-member board would take the rate to 6%, its highest level since May 2017.

This increase would bring the total increase in borrowing costs to 425 basis points since September last year.

But the board could opt for a steeper hike because there will be no vote on interest rates in May, some analysts said.

“We expect a 100 basis point decision as the central scenario, but we haven’t ruled out a larger move mainly because there is no meeting in May,” said Camilo Perez, Chief Economist at Banco de Bogota.

“If you look back, exactly the month before there was no meeting, that’s where the pace picks up,” he added. “This can be interpreted as a type of anticipation or preparation with a larger adjustment ahead of a month without a monetary policy decision.”

The board raised the rate by 100 points in January, although the majority of the market expected 75 points, while in March the hike was 100 points, instead of the majority prediction of 150 points . There was no meeting in February.

The market will also be watching for increases in the bank‘s technical team’s inflation projections, which may come at the press conference following the interest rate vote.

Inflation is unlikely to return to the target level of 3% in the next two years, Roberto Steiner, a member of the bank’s board of directors, said last week, predicting that rate hikes will continue.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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