Saturday, September 30

Mexico headline inflation seen stalling in early March, core inflation still on the rise

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s year-on-year inflation likely stalled in the first two weeks of March, though is still high above the central bank’s target, a Reuters poll of analysts showed Tuesday, reinforcing expectations that the central bank will continue to raise its key interest rate Thursday.

The consensus forecast of 14 market analysts surveyed was for headline inflation to stay at 7.34%, the same level seen in the second half of February.

The core rate of inflation, which does not account for some volatile food and energy items, was seen accelerating to 6.71%, which would be the highest rate since May 2001.

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Mexico’s central bank, known as Banxico, targets inflation of 3%, with a one percentage point tolerance range above and below that. In February, the bank raised benchmark interest rates to 6%, its sixth consecutive hike.

The central bank’s next monetary policy decision is scheduled for Thursday, with analysts anticipating a 50 basis point raise.

In just the first two weeks of March, Mexican consumer prices are estimated to have increased by 0.52% from the previous two weeks, with the core price index seen advancing 0.40%.

Mexico’s national statistics agency will publish the latest inflation data on Thursday. (Reporting by Noe Torres; Additional reporting by Gabriel Burin in Buenos Aires; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Aurora Ellis)