UPDATE 1-Mexico annual inflation hits 6-month low in April
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MEXICO CITY May 8 (Reuters) - Mexican inflation cooled to a six-month low in April as electricity and fresh food prices eased, backing expectations for steady interest rates this year in Latin America's No. 2 economy.
Inflation in the 12 months through April slowed to 3.5 percent, below the 3.55 percent forecast in a Reuters poll, and down from a 3.76 percent rate in March.
Inflation rose above the central bank's 4 percent ceiling in January on the heels of a fiscal reform that boosted prices of sugary beverages and junk food, but it has since cooled.
Policymakers held their benchmark interest rate at 3.50 percent last month, noting tame price pressures and highlighting signs of improving economic growth.
Consumer prices fell 0.19 percent in April compared with expectations for a 0.14 percent drop and the 0.27 percent rise notched in March.
Core prices, which strip out some volatile food and energy costs, climbed 0.29 percent, below expectations for a 0.35 percent rise and the 0.21 percent rise the month prior. (Reporting By Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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