Mexico annual headline inflation seen higher in early April- Reuters poll

By Thomson Reuters Apr 23, 2024 | 1:05 PM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican headline inflation likely ticked up in the first half of April as core inflation eased, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday, boosting expectations that Mexico’s central bank will hold its benchmark interest rate at its next monetary policy meeting.

A median forecast of 11 analysts predicts annual headline inflation of 4.48% for the first 15 days of the month, above the 4.37% recorded in the second half of March.

The closely watched core index, which strips out highly volatile energy and food prices, is seen falling to 4.39% in early April, which would be its lowest since May 2021.

Mexico’s headline inflation rate has sped up after bottoming out at 4.25% at the end of October and remains above the Bank of Mexico’s target of 3%, plus or minus a percentage point.

The Bank of Mexico lowered its benchmark rate in March by 25 basis points to 11.00%, but the bank’s governing board will likely hold it there for longer than markets expected, Deputy Governor Jonathan Heath told Reuters last week, calling for “more persistent” monetary policy amid sticky inflation and echoing other members of the board.

Compared to the previous two weeks, analysts estimated consumer prices actually fell 0.03%, while core inflation on the other hand sped up 0.16%, the poll showed.

A survey of economists conducted by Citibanamex this week showed that a large segment of the market expects the Bank of Mexico to hold the benchmark rate steady at its meeting in May.

Mexico’s national statistics agency will publish official inflation data for the first half of April on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Noe Torres; Additional reporting by Gabriel Burin in Buenos Aires; Editing by Andrea Ricci)