UPDATE 1-Mexico consumer inflation hits another record low in early Oct
(Recasts with annual rate, background) MEXICO CITY, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's annual inflation cooled to a record low in early October, showing little sign of a big impact from a sharply weaker peso that could pressure policymakers to lift interest rates. Inflation in the 12 months through mid-October fell to 2.47 percent from 2.51 percent in the second half of September, the national statistics institute said on Thursday. The rate was the lowest reading for the first half of a month since 1989, as far back as data goes on the institute's website. A poll of analysts by Reuters forecast a rate of 2.51 percent. Inflation is expected to remain below 3 percent for the rest of the year as sluggish growth contains price pressures in Latin America's No. 2 economy. Mexican policymakers are expected to wait until the U.S. Federal Reserve lifts borrowing costs before raising interest rates. Concerns about the impact of higher U.S. borrowing costs have hammered the peso to successive record lows this year and the central bank has warned it could raise interest rates before the Fed if currency weakness drives up prices. But the latest data underscored the so-far limited impact of peso weakness on goods and services. The data showed that consumer prices rose by 0.46 percent in the first half of October. The analysts' poll had forecast a 0.48 percent increase. The core price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.16 percent, in-line with expectations and taking the 12-month core inflation rate up to 2.46 percent. (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle)
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