UPDATE 2-Mexico annual inflation hits 1-1/2-year high in June
* Annual inflation rises to 4.34 percent vs poll view of 4.25 percent
* Consumer prices rise past central bank 4 percent limit
* Benchmark interest rates seen steady despite slowdown risks
MEXICO CITY, July 9 (Reuters) - Mexican annual inflation accelerated to its highest rate in 1-1/2 years in June, which could make policymakers reluctant to cut interest rates as they eye the impact of a weaker peso on consumer prices.
Annual inflation rose to 4.34 percent last month, faster than expectations of 4.25 percent in a Reuters poll and up from 3.85 percent in May, the national statistics agency said on Monday.
Mexico's economy has been buoyed by U.S. demand for its exports despite a global slowdown in Europe and Asia that pushed Brazil to slash borrowing costs to support growth. But a weak U.S. job market could weigh on Mexico in the coming months.
June inflation marked the fastest full-month pace since December 2010, rising past the central bank's limit of 4 percent, but the most pressure came from higher fruit and vegetable prices that could soon fall.
"Even though the pressure is from non-core components, this is not comfortable ground for the central bank," said Rafael Camarena, an economist at Santander in Mexico City. "They do not have room to cut right now."
Interest rate swaps were little changed as the market stuck to bets that Mexico will hold its benchmark interest rate steady at 4.50 percent into 2014 despite signs of a slowdown in the United States, Mexico's top trading partner.
Consumer prices rose 0.46 percent in June compared with estimates of 0.38 percent and a 0.32 percent fall in May as tomato prices spiked more than 51 percent last month.
Mexican policymakers have worried that a weak peso could fan inflation since it blew past 12 per U.S. dollar last year. A weaker currency makes imported goods more expensive for domestic consumers in peso terms.
The currency has recovered nearly 9 percent from a three-year low hit in early June to trade at 13.43 per dollar on Monday.
Core inflation, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.22 compared to an expected 0.21 percent and a 0.27 percent rise in May.
Central bank Governor Agustin Carstens was quoted last week saying that the annual inflation rate is likely to come back below 4 percent during the third quarter.
Non-food core goods inflation rose 3.29 percent in the 12 months through June, up from 2.43 percent in the same month last year, suggesting only a limited impact of higher import prices due to the weak peso.
Analysts sharply lifted their forecast for annual inflation for calendar year 2012 to 3.81 percent in a central bank poll issued last week.
Mexico's economy accelerated at the start of 2012 but data suggest growth eased in the second quarter. The central bank poll showed forecasts for growth this year held steady at 3.72 percent.
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