Mexico annual inflation hits new 2-1/2-year high in September

Mexican inflation accelerated to a new 2-1/2-year high in September as prices of fresh food continued to rise although analysts expect no immediate reaction from the central bank.

Annual inflation rose to 4.77 percent last month, up from 4.57 percent in August but just below the 4.78 percent expected in a Reuters poll, the national statistics agency said on Tuesday.

It was the highest rate since March 2010 and puts inflation even further above the central bank's 4 percent tolerance limit, which it has now overshot for four months in a row.

Still, Banco de Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens has said it is important not to move interest rates from their current 4.5 percent level prematurely, as the central bank is watching for signs that price pressures are spreading through the economy.

The latest increase in consumer prices was driven by a 14 percent annual rise in egg prices, following an avian flu outbreak this year in western Mexico, with overall agricultural prices up 16 percent, the statistics agency said.

Consumer prices rose 0.44 percent in September from August compared to an expected 0.45 percent rate and a 0.30 percent rise in August.

But the rate of increase in core prices eased. The core price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.18 percent compared to an expected 0.20 percent increase and a 0.22 percent rise in August.

Policymakers have said they expect the jump in prices to be transitory and the market is betting on stable interest rates through next year.

Still, analysts recently raised their forecasts for inflation this year to 4.15 percent, increasing their estimates in a central bank poll issued last week for the fourth month in a row.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by James Dalgleish)