May 14, 2018 / 5:19 PM / a year ago

Mexico's central bank seen holding interest rate steady this week

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s central bank is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate steady this week at a nine-year high after data showed the pace of consumer price gains easing, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.

Twenty-one of 25 analysts surveyed expect the Banco de Mexico to hold its rate MXCBIR=ECI steady at 7.50 percent, pausing for the second meeting in a row after a string of hikes.

Data this month showed annual inflation in April cooled to its lowest level since late 2016, following a path projected by policymakers. Inflation ended last year at a 16-1/2 year high.

Four analysts expected a 25 basis point hike, with some highlighting the recent slide of the peso that could push up import prices. The peso has shed more than 4 percent this month.

“We think that the board (of the central bank) has the space to take a ‘wait and see’ posture before raising the reference rate again, although we recognize that the scenario ahead is difficult to evaluate,” Banorte said in a note to clients.

Banorte is among banks that expect policymakers to hold rates steady this week.

The Banco de Mexico’s interest rate decision will be released Thursday at 1 p.m. local time (1800 GMT).

The median of the poll showed the benchmark rate ending the year at 7.50 percent.

Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez; Editing by Tom Brown

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