UPDATE 1-Mexico central bank holds steady but flags risk from weak peso

jueves 5 de mayo de 2016 14:45 GYT

(Adds central bank comments, background)

MEXICO CITY May 5 (Reuters) - Mexico's central bank held borrowing costs steady on Thursday but said financial volatility could again increase and that it would monitor risks to inflation from currency weakness.

The Banco de Mexico left its key rate at 3.75 percent, as expected by all 25 analysts surveyed by Reuters this week.

The central bank, however, said it could not rule out renewed financial volatility and stuck to a warning that it could raise interests at any time, if needed.

Mexico's peso has gained nearly 6 percent since the central bank unexpectedly raised rates by 50 basis points in February and directly intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2009 to try to halt a slide in the currency.

The peso's comeback has eased concerns that currency weakness could hit inflation expectations, while weak U.S. data has sown doubts about how quickly the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise interest rates this year.

The central bank said it would closely watch U.S. monetary policy. Mexico is expected to raise borrowing costs along with the U.S. Federal Reserve to prevent foreign investors from dumping local debt as U.S. interest rates rise.

Still, the peso suffered sharp losses in the last three days, and the central bank maintained recent language that suggests it could hike rates even before the Fed if currency weakness fans inflation expectations.

So far, the pace of consumer price gains has been surprisingly low. Mexico's annual inflation rate rose less than expected in the first half of April, to 2.60 percent, remaining below the central bank's 3 percent target.   Continuación...