UPDATE 1-Mexican inflation remains below central bank target

viernes 22 de abril de 2016 09:37 GYT

(Recasts with annual rate, adds details on prices)
    MEXICO CITY, April 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's annual inflation
rate rose less than expected in the first half of April,
remaining below the central bank's target and giving
policymakers room to keep interest rates unchanged.
    Inflation in the 12 months through mid-April 
was 2.60 percent, the national statistics institute said on
Friday, below a forecast 2.71 percent rate in a Reuters poll and
up from 2.49 percent in the second half of March.
    Mexico's central bank expects inflation to rise slightly
above its 3 percent target sometime in 2016, but fall back
toward the target by the end of the year.
    Last month, the central bank held its main interest rate at
3.75 percent, but warned it could raise borrowing costs if a
weak peso begins to push up inflation expectations.
    The bank hiked rates in February and December after a deep
slump in the peso, but the currency has recovered somewhat in
the past two months. 
    Consumer prices fell 0.34 percent in the first half of April
, more than a 0.24 percent drop projected in the
poll, as prices for electricity, tomatoes and onions fell.
    The core index, which strips out some volatile
food and energy prices, rose 0.15 percent, above an expected
0.12 percent.
    The 12-month core inflation rate rose to 2.79
percent, above both the 2.76 percent expected in the poll and
the 2.66 percent seen in the second half of March.

 (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Paul Simao)