PREVIEW-Chile June inflation seen at 0.5 pct on food, fuel prices
SANTIAGO, July 4 (Reuters) - Chile's consumer prices are expected to have risen 0.5 percent in May, their biggest jump in eight months, pushed up by food, fuel and energy prices, according to the median estimate of 13 analysts and economists polled by Reuters.
Consumer prices were flat in May, sending the annual inflation rate down to an at least two-year low of 0.9 percent and bolstering bets the central bank will cut interest rates in the coming months to boost easing economic growth.
"Our projection for a 0.5 percent CPI increase in June is based mainly on likely increases in prices for fruits and vegetables, due to seasonality; electricity; gasoline, as fuel prices increase because of an exchange rate effect; and liquefied gas," said Antonio Moncado, an economist at BCI in Santiago.
The 12-month inflation figure through May was well below the bottom end of the central bank's 2 percent to 4 percent tolerance range. CPI fell 0.3 percent in June 2012.
On Monday, the central bank cut its forecasts for 2013 gross domestic product growth, inflation and domestic demand given a deeper-than-expected economic slowdown, opening the door to a potential rate reduction in the short term.
The bank said the new forecasts rely on a base-case scenario of the benchmark interest rate following a path similar to what the market expects.
The latest traders poll, released on June 26, showed the median forecast was for the rate to remain at 5 percent in July and be cut to 4.75 percent in three months. Analysts polled on June 11, however, had priced in a cut to 4.75 percent at next week's meeting.
The government's INE statistics agency will publish the CPI data on Saturday at 8 a.m. (1200 GMT).
(Reporting and writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Eric Beech)