AMLO says Banxico has raised the benchmark rate to 6.5%

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday the Bank of Mexico had voted to raise its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 6.5%, speaking before the latest decision has been made public by the central bank.

While speaking about inflation, Lopez Obrador noted the U.S. Federal Reserve had last week raised its key lending rate for the first time since 2018, then said Mexico’s central bank had voted to hike its benchmark rate again by 50 basis points.

“We’re going to have an interest rate of 6.5 (percent),” he said, speaking at a regular government news conference. “The Bank of Mexico took the decision yesterday unanimously, and we respect the Bank of Mexico’s autonomy.”

The bank declined to comment on the unexpected announcement. The president’s office did not reply to a request for comment on whether Lopez Obrador had spoken in error.

The peso currency extended its gains against the dollar shortly after the president made his remarks.

Gabriela Siller, an economist at Banco Base, said revealing the rate decision in advance would be unprecedented and a “scandal” that raised questions about the bank’s autonomy.

Economists surveyed by Reuters forecast the bank would increase its benchmark rate by 50 basis points to 6.5% at its latest monetary policy meeting. The bank is due to announce its latest decision at 1 p.m. (1900 GMT) Mexico City time.

Mexico is currently holding its annual banking convention in Acapulco, with top finance officials due to attend, including the new governor of the central bank, Victoria Rodriguez.

The central bank board’s policymaking decision, which normally takes place on Wednesday evening, was moved forward a few hours to help with the arrangements for the convention, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Yucatan Times
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