UPDATE 1-Mexico early-February inflation rises below forecast

(Adds details,)

MEXICO CITY, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Mexican consumer price inflation came in slightly below forecasts in the first half of February, but remained above the central bank’s target rate, data from the national statistics agency showed on Monday.

In the year through early February inflation was 3.52%, just undershooting the forecast of 3.57%. Prices rose 0.12 percent during the first half of February, compared with the forecast of 0.18%.

The closely watched core price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.22 percent in early February.

Mexico’s central bank targets an inflation rate of 3%, with a one-percentage-point tolerance threshold above and below.

The Bank of Mexico has warned that a minimum wage hike enacted by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government could fan inflation and make it difficult to bring consumer prices to the bank’s 3% target in 2020. (Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Alex Richardson)