Mexico’s consumer prices up 0.09% in early April

By Thomson Reuters Apr 24, 2024 | 7:30 AM

(Reuters) – Mexico’s consumer prices unexpectedly rose in the first half of April, national statistics agency INEGI said on Wednesday, reinforcing expectations the country’s central bank will hold its benchmark interest rate at its next policy meeting.

Inflation for the period was 0.09%, while economists polled by Reuters expected a price decrease of 0.03%.

The monthly reading took annual inflation in Latin America’s second-largest economy to 4.63%, also above the expected 4.48% and the Bank of Mexico’s target of 3%, plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Mexico’s central bank lowered its benchmark rate in March by 25 basis points to 11%, but its governing board will likely hold it there for longer than markets expect, Deputy Governor Jonathan Heath told Reuters last week.

Heath called for “more persistent” monetary policy given sticky inflation, echoing other members of the board.

The closely watched core price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.16% in the first two weeks of April and 4.39% in the 12-month period, meeting market expectations.

(Reporting by Ricardo Figueroa and Peter Frontini; editing by Gabriel Araujo and Barbara Lewis)