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UPDATE 2-Analysts hike Mexico 2012 inflation view for 3rd month
September 3, 2012 / 3:20 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Analysts hike Mexico 2012 inflation view for 3rd month

* Analysts see inflation over 4 pct by year-end

* Raise 2012 inflation forecast for third month

* Growth seen stronger this year and next

MEXICO CITY, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Analysts following Mexico’s economy raised their inflation expectations for the third month in a row and now see consumer prices just overshooting the central bank’s ceiling by year-end.

A monthly poll of economists, banks and brokerages showed on Monday expectations for annual inflation of 4.01 percent for 2012, up from a 3.91 percent rise expected in the last monthly poll. Inflation estimates for 2013 rose to 3.71 percent from 3.65 percent.

The annual inflation rate accelerated to its highest in more than two years at 4.45 percent in early August due to a spike in fresh food prices, which the central bank has said is temporary and therefore does not justify raising interest rates from the current 4.5 percent.

In its last inflation report on Aug. 15, the central bank forecast annual inflation would fall below 4 percent by the end of the year but said it was looking closely for signs that the current high rate was leading to more generalized price pressures.

Inflation expectations are one key measure of second-round effects but analysts said the latest increase was not too much of a concern.

“(The forecast) is still within the Banco de Mexico’s range, I don’t think one basis point is anything to lose sleep over,” said Esteban Velazquez, analyst with Allianz Fondika.

Banco Santander economist Rafael Camarena said high world food prices would keep inflation elevated in coming months but he did not see signs of knock-on effects on other prices.

Analysts polled by the central bank also raised their estimates for economic growth. The poll showed a forecast of 3.75 percent for economic growth this year, compared with estimates in the last poll for 3.71 percent. Analysts now see 2013 growth at 3.44 percent, compared to 3.40 percent earlier.

The outlook is in line with an increase in new orders in Mexico’s manufacturing sector in August, although the pace of growth eased slightly in the month.

The HSBC Mexico Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 55.1 in August from 55.2 in July, after adjusting for seasonal variation.

The reading above 50 indicated factory activity continued to expand, only less rapidly. New orders rose to 58.52 from 57.55 in July and export orders also rose.

Government data on Aug. 24 showed exports rebounded in July on better U.S. demand for manufactured goods and if that continues in August, it will be a positive sign for third-quarter growth in Latin America’s No. 2 economy, which is closely tied to the United States.

Separate data showed remittances sent back by Mexicans living abroad fell in July for the first time in nearly two years, reflecting weakness in U.S. construction activity, which employs many of the estimated 11 million Mexicans living in the United States.

But despite the 2.1 percent dip, remittances for the first seven months of the year were up 4.8 percent on the same time last year at $13.7 billion, the central bank said.

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