(Adds information from central bank minutes)
MEXICO CITY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Most of Mexico’s central bankers see weakening economic growth and tame inflation but debated whether interest rates should be raised to avert the exit of investors from the country’s bonds.
Central bank board members voted 5 to 0 at their Oct. 29 meeting to hold their benchmark rate at a record low of 3.0 percent, minutes showed on Thursday.
The board was divided over the issue of whether it should raise interest rates before or after the U.S. Federal Reserve.
One member thought Mexico should hike first to ward off a potential exodus of bondholders of peso-denominated debt, but some other members said moving first would be “inefficient” and have “elevated costs.”
Mexico’s central bank is widely expected to raise its benchmark interest rate from 3 percent when the Fed moves. The market has tilted toward bets for a hike in December by the Fed.
Some central bankers saw potential headwinds for growth if the U.S. industrial sector flags as well as problems at one of the country’s top auto producers.
Mexico said in September it was investigating whether Volkswagen cars complied with emissions rules in Latin America’s second biggest economy, after Europe’s largest carmaker admitted to cheating in U.S. diesel emissions tests.
Mexico’s central bank narrowed its growth outlook for this year earlier this month, saying it now saw economic expansion in 2015 of between 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent.
A majority said the inflation outlook was unchanged, forecasting that it would remain below the central bank’s 3 percent target for the rest of the year. Most of the board saw inflation at around 3 percent next year.
Mexico’s annual inflation rate hit a fresh record low in October, despite a deep slump in the peso. (Reporting by Michael O‘Boyle and Alexandra Alper Editing by W Simon)