The market is divided about whether Colombia's central bank board will raise its benchmark interest rate in a final hike in its tightening cycle or hold borrowing costs as it weighs inflation and growth risks at its meeting on Friday.

Fifteen of 26 analysts in a Reuters survey last week predicted the seven-member board will hold the rate at 13%, while the remaining 11 projected a 25 basis point increase 13.25%.

A hold would be the first since September 2021.

Incoming Finance Minister Ricardo Bonilla, who will take office on May 1, told local radio on Thursday he expects a hold because of a reduction in food price inflation.

Outgoing minister Jose Antonio Ocampo will attend Friday's meeting in representation of the government.

"I expect the bank to stop raising rates and there will now be some space so that in the second half interest rates begin to fall," Bonilla said.

However, some of the market believes one last hike is necessary to anchor inflation expectations, given 12-month consumer price increases were 13.34% in March, more than four times the bank's target.

"We think this will be the last rise of the cycle and then the central bank will leave the interest rate stable until at least the fourth quarter," said Felipe Klein, BNP Paribas economist for Latin America.

The board has raised borrowing costs by 1,125 points since late 2021 as economic growth sent inflation soaring. Colombia's economy expanded 7.5% last year.

The bank's technical team predicts economic growth will slow to 0.84% this year and inflation will reach 8.7%. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb and Alistair Bell)