August 23, 2018 / 1:54 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico inflation cools less than expected in early Aug

 (Recasts with annual rate)
    MEXICO CITY, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Mexican inflation cooled in
early August compared to the prior month, official data showed
on Thursday, backing expectations for steady interest rates in
the coming months.      
    Consumer prices in the 12 months through early August rose
4.81 percent, the national statistics agency said. That was
above estimates for a 4.74 percent increase but down from a 4.85
percent rate in early July. 
    The agency introduced a new methodology with this data that
includes an updated basket of goods and a wider sample of data
from more small cities. 
    Mexico's central bank early this month held its benchmark
interest rate at a more than nine-year high of 7.75 percent and
trimmed its growth forecast.              
    Most economists expect the central bank to start cutting
rates next year, according to a poll by Banamex this week.
    Thursday's data showed the closely-watched annual core index
rose 3.60 percent, in-line with expectations.
    Mexican consumer prices rose 0.34 percent during the first
half of August. The core price index             , which strips
out some volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.18 percent
in early August.

 (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle
Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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