UPDATE 1-Mexico central bank sees low inflation impact from weak peso

lunes 5 de octubre de 2015 10:35 GYT
 

(Adds minutes' comments on peso, economy, inflation)

MEXICO CITY Oct 5 (Reuters) - Most of Mexico's central bankers think that economic growth remains sluggish and see few signs so far that a weak peso has hit inflation, suggesting they could hold interest rates steady in the coming months.

Central bank board members voted 5 to 0 at their Sept. 21 meeting to hold their benchmark rate at a record low of 3.0 percent, minutes showed on Monday.

Minutes showed that most policymakers noted there was only "low passthrough" from the weak peso to consumer prices so far, which backs expectations Mexico will hold rates until the U.S. Federal Fed lifts borrowing costs.

Mexico's peso gained for a second session in a row on Monday after weak U.S. jobs data on Friday backed bets that the Fed could wait until next year to raise borrowing costs.

The peso has hit successive lows this year on concerns that higher U.S. rates will sap demand for riskier emerging market assets.

However, the majority of the board noted that foreign holdings of Mexican peso bonds have held around record highs while inflation has fallen to an all-time low.

The central bank's statement in September was largely similar to July's statement, but specified that policymakers were watching the "pass through from the exchange rate" rather than the "behavior of the exchange rate" mentioned in July.

Most of the board thought that slack in the economy would continue to contain price pressures. However, the majority also said there was a risk that the weak peso could have a bigger impact on consumer prices.

The government cut economic growth estimates for this year to around 2.4 percent due to falling oil output and patchy exports to the United States.

Analysts see 2.3 percent growth this year, according to a central bank poll last week. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Michael O'Boyle Editing by W Simon)