Headline inflation fell to its lowest level in six months in November, new data shows, but Mexico’s core index rose slightly to its highest level in more than 22 years.
National statistics agency INEGI reported Thursday that the annual headline inflation rate was 7.8% last month, down from 8.41% in October.
The rate is slightly lower than expected, and the lowest rate since May when consumer prices were up 7.65% on a year-over-year basis. However, it is still well above the central bank’s target range of 3% plus or minus one percentage point.
The Bank of México has lifted its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points on four consecutive occasions in recent months as it seeks to combat high inflation. It is expected to announce another hike — perhaps a slightly more palatable one of 50 basis points — after its monetary policy meeting next Thursday. The bank’s key rate is currently set at a record high of 10%.
The core inflation rate, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, remains a major concern for the central bank — and Mexican consumers trying to make ends meet.
INEGI reported that core inflation was 8.51% in November, up from 8.42% in October. The rate is the highest for any month since August 2000 when core inflation was 8.8%.
INEGI also reported that headline inflation increased 0.58% compared to October and core inflation rose 0.45% on a month-over-month basis.
Prices for agricultural products were up 8.9% on an annual basis in November, with that rate driven by a 13.8% rise in the cost of meat. Processed foods, tobacco and alcohol were 14.1% more expensive last month than a year earlier, while goods in general cost 11.3% more.
Services were 5.3% more expensive, while energy costs rose 3.2%, INEGI said.
President López Obrador predicted in July that inflation would begin to ease in October or November, a prediction that has been shown to be correct, at least for headline inflation.
This year’s headline inflation peak was 8.7% in August and September, the highest level in over two decades.
With reports from El Financiero