Mexico central bank seen holding steady as inflation cools

jueves 30 de abril de 2015 01:00 GYT

MEXICO CITY, April 30 (Reuters) - Mexico's central bank is expected to hold borrowing costs steady on Thursday amid sluggish economic growth and after inflation cooled despite a deep slump in the peso.

All 21 analysts polled by Reuters last week expect the Banco de Mexico to hold its key rate at 3.00 percent at its 1 p.m. statement [1800 GMT].

Inflation has cooled closer to the central bank's 3 percent target this year despite a slump in the peso, which hit a record low in March on concerns that higher U.S. rates will push investors to drop emerging market assets.

For now, policymakers seem more focused on slack in the economy that is dampening overall price pressures and analysts think they are unlikely to move to raise interest rates before the U.S. Federal Reserve, unless the peso weakens much further.

Last week, Governor Agustin Carstens said the central bank is weighing the weak economy's need for low interest rates against the pressure to act if the Fed hikes.

In their Thursday statement, policymakers are expected to reiterate that inflation should end the year just below their 3 percent target, while they may suggest that the outlook for growth has weakened more since their March meeting.

Analysts are dampening expectations for the pace of hikes this year amid signs of sluggish growth in Mexico and the United States.

The median expectation of the poll showed analysts pared back their expectations for a 50 basis point hike in the third quarter seen in a March poll to a forecast for a 25 basis point increase in the July to September period.

In a poll from Banamex last week, the median of analysts continued to cut back on their growth outlook this year, forecasting growth just above 2.8 percent in 2015 following a 2.1 percent expansion last year. (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Chris Reese)