May 3, 2016 / 5:46 PM / 2 years ago

Mexico cenbank seen steady after peso rally, weak US growth

MEXICO CITY, May 3 (Reuters) - Mexico’s central bank is expected to hold its key lending rate steady on Thursday, a Reuters poll of analysts showed on Tuesday, and policymakers are seen hiking less this year after a modest recovery in the peso.

All 25 analysts surveyed said they expect the Banco de Mexico to keep the benchmark interest rate at 3.75 percent. The central bank is due to announce its decision at 13:00 local time (1900 GMT) on Thursday.

The poll showed analysts have lowered their expectations for further hikes this year.

Mexico’s peso has gained about 8 percent since the Mexican central bank unexpectedly hiked by 50 basis points in February and directly intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2009 to try and 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 pushed the market to expect less interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year.

The median estimate is now for just one more 25 basis point hike in Mexico by the end of the third quarter. The previous poll in March forecast a 25 point hike in the second quarter and another quarter-point increase by the end of 2016. (Reporting by Noe Torres and Jean Luis Arce)

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