October 24, 2018 / 3:06 PM / a month ago

Mexico inflation rose less than expected in early October

FILE PHOTO - Tomatoes are displayed at a vegetable stall in La Merced market, downtown Mexico City January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican annual inflation in the first half of October rose less than expected, official data showed on Wednesday, but the rate was still above the central bank’s target.

Mexican inflation in the 12-months through early October rose 4.94 percent, the national statistics institute said, compared to expectations for a 5.00 percent increase in a Reuters poll. It was up from 4.88 percent in early September.

Yields on Mexican interest rate swaps MXNIRS bid slightly lower after the data as investors trimmed bets on an interest rate hike at the next central bank announcement on Nov. 15.

However, the market was still pricing in an around 70 percent chance for a 25 basis point hike in the bank’s key rate to 8.0 percent at the meeting, according to Refinitiv data.

The central bank held rates steady in early October, but one member voted for a hike.

Mexico’s central bank chief Alejandro Diaz de Leon told Reuters last week he was concerned that energy prices could rise in coming months, making it harder to bring inflation down toward the bank’s 3 percent target.

The closely watched annual core price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, rose 3.74 percent in the 12-months through the first half of October, in line with estimates but up from 3.56 percent in early September.

Mexican consumer prices rose 0.40 percent during the first half of October compared to the prior month, while the core price index climbed 0.17 percent in early October.

Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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