UPDATE 1-Mexico inflation rate cools in March

jueves 7 de abril de 2016 09:34 GYT

(Adds historical comparisons, context)
    MEXICO CITY, April 7 (Reuters) - Mexico's annual inflation
rate eased in March and remained below the central bank's 3
percent target, giving policymakers room to keep interest rates
on hold amid a partial recovery in the peso.
    Inflation in the 12 months through March cooled
to 2.60 percent, the national statistics agency said on
Thursday. That compared with a forecast of 2.63 percent in a
Reuters poll and 2.87 percent in February.
    Before beginning to rise in January, Mexico's annual
inflation rate posted a series of record lows last year, marking
the longest period ever in which price gains stayed below the
central bank's 3 percent target.
    The central bank has said it expects inflation to creep up
above its target in 2016 but end the year around 3 percent. 
    Policymakers in Latin America's No. 2 economy raised
interest rates in December following a move by the U.S. Federal
Reserve and surprised the market with another hike in February
in a bid to support the battered peso.
    After the central bank on Feb. 17 raised interest rates and
intervened in the foreign exchange market, the peso has
recovered some ground from an all-time low, but the currency is
still down about 3 percent this year against the dollar.
    Consumer prices rose 0.15 percent in March
compared with the prior month, below estimates of a 0.18 percent
    The core index, which strips out some volatile
food and energy prices, rose 0.36 percent from February compared
with 0.41 percent seen in the poll.
    The 12-month core inflation rate rose to 2.76 percent
compared to a forecast of 2.8 percent and a 2.66 percent rate in

 (Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Andrea Ricci)