UPDATE 1-Mexico's central bank could act again after surprise rate hike

jueves 10 de marzo de 2016 22:22 GYT
 

(Adds quotes, new interbank payment system)

ACAPULCO, March 10 (Reuters) - Mexico's central bank is pleased with the results of its surprise interest rate hike and new currency intervention policy and is prepared to act again "if necessary," central bank Governor Agustin Carstens said on Thursday.

Speaking at an annual banking conference in Acapulco, Carstens said the bank carefully thought through its bevy of actions on Feb. 17, when the Finance Ministry also announced budget cuts.

The bank's actions were an assault on speculators who have battered the local peso currency, which as one of the world's most liquid currencies is often used as a money-making short when general sentiment turns sour against emerging market assets.

The peso, after being the most-punished in the global market rout of early 2016, has halved its annual losses over the past few weeks.

"This joint action of the ministry (of finance) and the Bank of Mexico had the anticipated results," Carstens said, pointing to the rising stock market and the peso's gains.

Carstens emphasized that coordinating its actions with the federal government "has not in any way been to the detriment of the autonomy of the Bank of Mexico."

He also said the central bank would launch a new system of inter-bank payments, known as SPID, from next month to process dollar transactions. The system is meant to reduce Mexican banks' reliance on correspondent relationships with foreign banks. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Tomas Sarmiento; Writing by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Leslie Adler)