Bull Street Paper Your Trusted Source for Financial News and Insights
us flag United States

Exclusive: Inside Mexico's Inflation Rate Decline

people standing on corner road near concrete buildings during daytime
Source: Jezael Melgoza / Unsplash

Mexico’s headline inflation saw a significant slowdown in February, signaling a potential shift in the country’s monetary policy. Consumer prices rose by 4.4% compared to the same period a year earlier, down from 4.88% in January. The deceleration was just below the 4.42% median estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Additionally, core inflation, which excludes volatile items such as fuel and food, also slowed to 4.64% from a year ago, closely aligning with economists’ forecast of 4.63%.

The latest figures have bolstered expectations of an imminent interest rate cut by the central bank. Gabriel Casillas, managing director at Barclays Capital Inc., emphasized that the inflation numbers support “a first rate cut of 25bps at its next meeting on March 21.” This sentiment is echoed by 33 out of 35 banks polled, who are anticipating a quarter percentage-point reduction in the overnight interest-rate target to 11% this month.

Furthermore, it is crucial to note that while certain sectors such as fruit and vegetables experienced a decline in prices, there were pressures on service costs, which rose by 0.61% during the period. This indicates that despite the overall moderation in inflation, specific segments of the economy are still experiencing upward price pressures.

In light of these developments, some economists are pointing out that Mexico may follow the path of other central banks in the region by relaxing monetary policy only gradually. This cautious approach is attributed to resilience in the services sector and broader economic dynamics.

Factors Driving Inflation Slowdown and Anticipated Rate Cuts

The decrease in Mexican inflation during February can be largely attributed to several key factors. Firstly, a notable decline in fruit and vegetable prices by 8.43% contributed significantly to easing overall inflationary pressures. However, this was counterbalanced by an increase in service costs, which rose by 0.61% during the same period.

Moreover, it’s essential to highlight that while headline inflation moderated, there were still persistent pressures on core inflation driven by services costs. As Jessica Roldan, chief economist at Casa de Bolsa Finamex mentioned: “It’s a better number than we expected, but the hard work ahead will be to reduce core measures, especially services.”

The momentum towards interest rate cuts has been gaining traction as most central bank board members have indicated their willingness to start cutting rates. The prospect of gradual interest rate reductions reflects policymakers’ cautious stance amid ongoing challenges within specific sectors of the economy.

The slowdown in Mexican inflation presents significant implications for monetary policy and broader economic trends within Latin America. With Brazil, Chile, and Colombia already undergoing easing cycles since last year, Mexico’s potential shift towards lower borrowing costs aligns with regional trends.

Analysts expect that if Mexican policymakers do proceed with interest rate cuts as anticipated, it could lead to an extended period of monetary easing aimed at stimulating economic growth and mitigating inflationary pressures.

As Marco Oviedo, senior strategist at XP Investimentos noted: “Merchandise inflation was surprisingly high,” suggesting that despite progress in disinflation processes, there are underlying complexities that require careful navigation.

In conclusion, Mexico’s recent inflation figures have set the stage for potential interest rate cuts as policymakers navigate through complex economic dynamics and external influences shaping regional monetary policies.

For more information on Mexico’s economy and financial landscape: Central Bank of Mexico

The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice.

Interest rates
Monetary Policy
Financial Markets
Economic Trends
Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date