Mexican Annual Inflation Slowed in September

By Anthony Harrup Features Dow Jones Newswires

Mexican consumer prices rose less than expected in September as reductions in public transport and mobile phone charges following a deadly earthquake offset higher energy and back-to-school costs.

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The consumer-price index rose 0.31% last month, bringing the annual inflation rate down to 6.35% from a 16-year-high 6.66% in August, the National Statistics Institute said Monday. Core CPI, which excludes energy and fresh fruit and vegetables, rose 0.28%, with the annual rate slowing to 4.8% from 5% in August.

The increases were below the median estimates of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, which saw increases of 0.45% and 0.35%, respectively, for CPI and core CPI in September. Overall consumer prices fell 0.17% in the second half of the month.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake Sept. 19 destroyed dozens of buildings and damaged thousands of others, leaving 369 people dead, including 228 in Mexico City. That followed an earthquake in southern Mexico earlier in the month that killed around 100 people, and several hurricanes that caused flooding and some loss of life.

In the days following the Sept. 19 quake, the Mexico City government waived fares on the city's subway system, and the country's telecommunications companies made phone calls, messaging and mobile data free so that even people without credit on their phones could communicate.

Lower fruit and vegetable prices contributed to the slowdown in inflation, while gasoline and propane gas prices rose, as did school and college fees at the start of the fall term.

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The Bank of Mexico left interest rates unchanged at the end of September, saying that inflation appeared to have reached a ceiling in August. The bank remained cautious, however, about a possible near-term spike in some goods prices following the natural disasters.

The central bank maintained its estimate that the annual inflation rate will return to its 3% target toward the end of 2018.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 09, 2017 10:35 ET (14:35 GMT)