* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/cb-polls?RIC=MXCBIR%3DECI Poll data (Adds poll details, analyst’s quote)
MEXICO CITY, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The Mexican central bank will likely cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on Thursday, according to a Reuters poll, as inflationary pressures ease and in line with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s recent rate reduction.
Fourteen of 16 analysts and economists surveyed by Reuters said they expect the Bank of Mexico, known locally as Banxico, to lower the key lending rate to 7.75%, following the first cut since June 2014 at its Aug. 15 meeting.
The two other survey participants forecast an even bigger 50 basis points rate cut.
By a 4-1 decision, Banxico’s five-member board voted to lower the key lending rate by 25 basis points to 8.0% at the last monetary policy meeting, after the economy posted no growth in the second quarter and contracted in the first.
The central bank got more latitude to lower borrowing costs further after Mexican consumer prices slowed more than expected in August to near a three-year low.
Annual inflation is seen declining further in the first half of September to 3.03% as prices for agricultural products ease, from 3.04% in the second half of August, according to the median forecast of 13 analysts and economists surveyed by Reuters.
“There is almost absolute certainty that Banxico will again cut by 25 basis points as the Fed’s (rate) reduction gives Mexico room to stimulate the economy without destabilizing financial markets,” financial group Monex said in a note to clients.
The Fed cut interest rates again on Sep. 18 to help sustain a record-long economic expansion but signaled a higher bar to further reductions in borrowing costs.
Banxico will publish its monetary policy statement on Thursday at 1 p.m. local time (1800 GMT). (Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez in Mexico City and Gabriel Burin in Buenos Aires; Writing by Anthony Esposito Editing by Alistair Bell)