* One dissenter to January rate cut signal
* Analysts trim 2013 inflation outlook
MEXICO CITY Feb 1 Mexico's central bankers
disagreed over whether to send a signal that interest rate cuts
are possible to support growth as long as inflation remains
tame, according to minutes of their discussion, released on
Banco de Mexico board members unanimously decided to keep
interest rates steady at 4.5 percent at their monetary policy
meeting two weeks ago, but one argued it was premature to hint
at lower rates.
"The majority of board members considered that the economy
could grow at a faster pace without observing inflation
pressures, in which case it would be possible to have a lower
level of rates without compromising convergence to the inflation
goal," the minutes said.
"In contrast, one member indicated that inflation has not
yet converged to 3 percent. He added that sending a signal of a
future rate reduction could be premature, given that there is
not yet enough information to justify such a move."
Inflation is falling towards the Banco de Mexico's 3 percent
target, to 3.57 percent in December and 3.21 percent in early
January, after seven months above 4 percent in mid-2012.
The minutes showed most policymakers thought risks to
inflation had eased and would keep on a downward path towards 3
percent in 2013.
Board member Manuel Sanchez said on Tuesday the easing in
inflation was a good sign for the future although the downward
trend was yet to be consolidated.
Mexico's finance ministry forecasts growth of 3.5 percent in
Latin America's second-largest economy this year from an
expected 4 percent in 2012, after strong U.S. demand for
Mexican-made cars and manufactured goods.
In a separate poll carried out by the central bank, analysts
lowered their expectations for inflation in 2013 to 3.67
percent, down from 3.69 percent in the previous survey ,
according to the average of 32 analysts.
The economy is seen growing 3.55 percent over the same
period compared to a 3.45 percent forecast in the last poll in
The central bank poll changed its methodology this month,
deepening the information on growth and inflation forecasts by
including probability distributions as well as median estimates.