(Recasts with annual rate, adds background)
MEXICO CITY, Feb 9 Mexico's annual inflation
accelerated faster than expected to its highest rate in more
than four years in January, driven by a gasoline price hike,
data showed on Thursday, backing bets that the central bank
could raise interest rates.
Inflation in the twelve months through January
rose to 4.72 percent, its highest since September 2012, the
national statistics agency said.
That compared to a rate of 3.36 percent in December and a
figure of 4.70 percent expected in a Reuters poll.
Mexico's central bank is expected to raise its benchmark
interest rate later on Thursday in a bid to contain inflation
expectations, which are also being pressured by a deep slump in
The annual reading of the core index, which strips out some
volatile food and energy prices, advanced to 3.84 percent
from 3.44 percent in December. A rate of 3.78
percent had been forecast in the poll.
The core component rose to its highest since June 2010 and
reflects higher import prices of goods due to the weak peso.
Compared to the previous month, consumer prices
rose 1.70 percent in January, while the core index rose 0.58
percent during the month.
A 14 percent hike in regular gasoline prices by the
government weighed the most in the increase, the statistics
(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Bernadette Baum)