Mexico inflation fractionally above forecast in early January

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican consumer price inflation was very slightly above forecast in the first half of January, but remained close to the central bank’s target rate, data from the national statistics agency showed on Thursday.

In the year through early January, inflation was 3.18%, up from 3.02% in the second half of December, taking the rate to its highest since the first half of August. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast an inflation rate of 3.17%.

Prices were lifted by the higher cost of some seasonal foodstuff in particular, the data showed.

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

The closely watched index of core inflation, which strips out some volatile price components, rose by 3.73%. The Reuters poll had forecast a core rate of 3.71%.

Compared to the previous two-week period, prices rose by 0.27%. That compared with a forecast for an increase of 0.25%.

Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Editing by Bernadette Baum