Mexico's consumer prices rise 0.27% in early March


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March 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's consumer prices rose in line with expectations in the first half of March, the national statistics agency said on Friday, while core inflation was above estimates, reinforcing bets that the interest rate easing cycle will be slow-paced.

Inflation for the first two weeks of March was 0.27%, while economists polled by Reuters expected an increase of 0.28%. Compared to a year earlier, prices grew 4.48%, slightly higher than the 4.45% expected.

The data was also above the Bank of Mexico's target of 3%, plus or minus a percentage point, in the second quarter of 2025. It also is above the bank's estimate for year-end headline inflation of 3.6%.

The closely watched core price index MXCPIH=ECI, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.33% in early March, topping estimates of 0.26%. When compared to a year earlier, the figure reached 4.69%.

On Thursday, Mexico's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 11.00%, kicking off an easing cycle after holding the rate steady for seven straight policy meetings.

(Reporting by Peter Frontini; Editing by Steven Grattan)


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