March 9, 2018 / 2:22 AM / a year ago

Mexican inflation seen hitting 3 percent target in first-quarter of 2019

FILE PHOTO: Bananas are displayed for sale as the holiday shopping season kicks off with 'El Buen Fin' (The Good Weekend), at a Sam's Club store, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican inflation will likely fall this year and move toward the central bank’s 3 percent target, Banco de Mexico Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon said on Thursday.

Diaz de Leon added that he expects the inflation rate to reach the target during the first quarter of 2019.

The central banker made the remarks in a speech during the Mexican banking association’s annual convention in the seaside resort of Acapulco.

Prices cooled slightly more than expected in February, official data showed earlier on Thursday, easing some pressure on the central bank to keep raising interest rates.

The pace of consumer price gains in the 12 months through

February slowed to 5.34 percent, according to data from the national statistics agency INEGI.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Sandra Maler

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