Colombia's central bank increased interest rates for the sixth-straight month Friday, citing the need for higher borrowing costs to control inflation and higher-than-forecast economic growth.
The seven-member bank board lifted its benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage point to 4.5%, matching market expectations. The bank began its current cycle of rate hikes in February when the rate was at an all-time low of 3%.
Jose Dario Uribe, the central bank chairman, cited the higher-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter, with gross domestic product expanding 5.1%, as a sign of faster economic activity.
The central bank expects a similar figure for the second quarter, Mr. Uribe said. The central bank also increased its 2011 economic growth projection to a range of 4.5% to 6.5% from a previous estimate of 4% to 6%.
Swiss central bank loses 10.8b francs on strong currency
The Swiss National Bank reported Friday that it lost 10.8 billion francs (9.4 billion euros, $13.5 billion) in the first half of the year due mainly to the recent surge in the Swiss currency.
"The appreciation of the Swiss franc against all major investment currencies resulted in substantial valuation losses,"" said the central bank in a statement.
About 9.9 billion francs was lost on its foreign currency positions, as the US dollar depreciated by 9.6 percent, the yen by 8.9 percent and the euro by 2.4 percent against the Swiss currency over the first six months of the year.
In addition, the central bank's gold holdings, which last year helped trim losses incurred on foreign currency positions, also posted losses this time.
Treasury yields fall to 2011 lows amid deadlock
Treasuries surged, driving 10- and 30-year yields to the lowest levels this year, as U.S. lawmakers deadlocked over raising the debt limit and the economy grew more slowly than forecast.
Benchmark 10- and 30-year debt rose in July the most in almost a year, and Treasuries’ returns recouped all of their June losses. At the same time, rates climbed on bills maturing just after the Aug. 2 debt-cap deadline. The economy added fewer-than-average jobs this month, a report next week is forecast to show.
“People have been stockpiling cash on the inability of Washington to agree on the debt ceiling,” said Dan Mulholland, a Treasury trader in New York at RBC Capital Markets, the investment-banking arm of Canada’s biggest bank, one of 20 primary dealers that trade Treasuries with the Federal Reserve.