Sept 22 – Mexico’s headline inflation eased in the first half of September, official data showed on Friday, with the president calling on the central bank to focus on promoting economic growth given the improving inflation data.
Headline inflation in Latin America’s second-largest economy hit 4.44% in the 12 months through early September, down from 4.64% at the end of August, data from statistics agency INEGI showed. (MXCPHI=ECI)
The latest number, below the median forecast of 13 analysts polled by Reuters, but still above the central bank’s target, is likely to reinforce convictions that the Bank of Mexico will hold its key lending rate steady at an all-time high of 11.25% for longer.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday said the central bank, known as Banxico, was “doing well” as inflation slows but should focus more on promoting economic growth.
“The other task that they must carry out little by little is also that of promoting growth. If not, we’re talking about the Bank of Mexico standing on just one foot,” the president told a press conference.
“The best thing is the balance where there’s no inflation and there’s growth.”
Banxico, whose stated priority is “to maintain low and stable inflation,” opted last month to hold its benchmark interest rate at its current level for the third consecutive time.
It warned that it would be necessary to maintain it for an “extended” period to meet its inflation target of 3%, plus or minus one percentage point.
The central bank began its rate-hiking cycle in mid-2021, raising the key rate by a total of 725 basis points by May, when it paused the cycle.
Lopez Obrador has often railed against high interest rates, warning they could slow growth.
Mexico’s economy grew 0.2% in July from June and expanded 3.2% from the same month a year before, the national statistics agency said earlier on Friday.
The closely watched core price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, reached 5.78% in the year through the first half of September, INEGI said, slightly above the 5.76% expected by economists.
In the half-month period, the agency added, headline prices climbed 0.25% while the core index was up 0.27%.
Reporting by Peter Frontini and Raul Cortes Fernandez; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle and Natalia Siniawski; Editing by Brendan O’Boyle and Alistair Bell
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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