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Banxico sees inflation risks in rising global energy prices, minutes reveal

Some monetary policy board members at Banco de México voiced concern about the rise in global energy prices, which could push up inflation and contribute to rate increases, minutes from policymakers' most recent meeting showed.

The central bank, known as Banxico, on Oct. 4 held the benchmark rate at 7.75%, citing an expected continued decline in core inflation and decreased trade uncertainty after the country reached a new deal with the U.S. and Canada.

The decision was not unanimous, however. Four members including central bank chief Alejandro Díaz de León Carrillo voted in favor of holding the key rate steady, but Manuel Ramos Francia voted to hike the rate by 25 basis points to 8%. The decision to keep the rate marked the first time in nearly 3 years that Banxico did not move the interest rate in unison with the U.S. Federal Reserve, which raised its benchmark rate in late September.

Speaking with Reuters on Oct. 17, Díaz de León repeated the governing body's concerns. "Something that worries us is that future curves of various energy prices also have a tendency to [mean] high prices in the coming months. ... This is a clear risk and concern factor," he said.

Meanwhile, the central bank head praised the new deal between the North American nations, which had the potential of benefiting Mexico's economic activity and investments. That, and the ongoing positive performance of the Mexican peso, generated "an environment of less uncertainty."

The majority of the board agreed to adjust year-end headline inflation expectations to 4.50% in September from 4.25% in July, and to lower year-end core inflation expectations to 3.53% from 3.60% over the same period, according to the monetary policy meeting minutes.

Expectations for headline inflation for the end of 2019 increased to 3.70% from 3.60% during the same months, and those for core inflation for the end of 2019 remained essentially unchanged. Medium-term and long-term headline inflation expectations stayed at about 3.50%.