POLL-Colombia inflation estimated to have fallen slightly in March


BOGOTA, April 3 (Reuters) - Colombia's monthly inflation figure fell 0.41% in March, analysts said in a Reuters survey on Friday, as quarantine measures meant to contain the coronavirus limited consumption.

Consumer prices are estimated to have increased a median of 3.70% in the 12 months to March, just below the 3.72% recorded in February, the survey of 17 analysts showed.

Demand fell for cultural and entertainment events, as well as footwear, clothing and fuel last month, the analysts said, while price pressures for foodstuffs and health services rose.

Most major cities in the Andean country have been under quarantine orders for two weeks. A national lockdown is in place until April 13, but may be extended.

"With regards to prices, the most notable fact is the significant increase that we've seen in food prices," said Munir Jalil, head economist for the Andean region at BTG Pactual.

"Nevertheless, when we look at the categories we're predicting that more or less 48% will show zero or negative prices," Jalil said. "Clothing, entertainment and culture are sectors that won't move in the coming months."

Inflation figures for March will be released on Saturday.

Consumer price expectations for full-year 2020 were up to 3.4%, slightly above the 3.3% predicted last month and the central bank's long-term target of 3%.

Expectations for inflation in 2021 rose marginally to 3.25%, from 3.21% in the previous survey.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Richard Chang)

((julia.cobb@thomsonreuters.com; +57-316-389-7187;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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