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Source: Reuters

WRAPUP 1-Mexico inflation quickens in early Jan

Published: 24 Jan 2010 17:15:55 PST

MEXICO CITY, Jan 22 - Mexico's inflation rate accelerated in early January as higher taxes kicked in and the government raised prices on gasoline, which could pressure the central bank to eventually raise interest rates.

Mexican consumer prices rose 0.75 percent in the first half of January, pushing 12-month inflation up to 4.17 percent, the central bank said on Friday.

Analysts, on average, expected an increase of 0.59 percent in prices during early January, according to a Reuters poll.

Consumer prices rose 3.6 percent for the year through December.

The closely watched core consumer price index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.42 percent during the first two weeks of the month.

Headline prices rose 0.25 percent in the first half of December, while core prices rose 0.35 percent.

Meanwhile, other economic data gave new signs that Mexico's economy continued to recover from a deep recession.

The country's trade deficit widened in December to $248 million, with growth in imports outpacing an increase in exports, the national statistics agency said.

Both imports and exports were higher in December than a month earlier. But compared with a year earlier, exports were 22.8 percent higher, while imports were up 11.7 percent.

The agency said in a separate report that Mexico's unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in December.

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