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Mexico Inflation Picked Up Sharply in March

04/08/2021 | 07:57am EDT

By Anthony Harrup

MEXICO CITY--Mexican inflation rose to a more-than-two-year high in March, pushed up by higher energy costs and an increase in travel and tourism prices ahead of the Easter holiday week.

The consumer price index rose 0.83% last month, with the 12-month inflation rate up to 4.67% from 3.76% at the end of February, the National Statistics Institute said Thursday. It was the highest annual rate since December 2018.

Energy costs rose 2.75% in March, led by higher gasoline and propane-gas prices, and were nearly 15% higher than a year ago when world oil prices sank at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Airfares and tourism packages rose sharply ahead of the holiday period.

The recent pickup in inflation led the Bank of Mexico to leave its overnight interest-rate target unchanged at 4% at its March 25 meeting, and the central bank is widely expected to keep the rate unchanged for the rest of the year.

Core CPI, which excludes prices of energy and agricultural products, rose 0.54% in March and was up 4.12% a year before, compared with 3.87% in February.

The annual inflation rate is expected to move further from the central bank's 3% target in the second quarter of the year as the price declines seen a year ago drop out of the 12-month window, and then begin easing in the second half of the year.

Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-08-21 0756ET

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