Mexico president reveals central bank rate hike
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador surprised financial markets on Thursday by revealing that Mexico's autonomous central bank had decided to hike interest rates, hours before an official announcement.
"The Bank of Mexico raised the interest rate by 0.5 (percentage points). We're going to have an interest rate of 6.5 percent," Lopez Obrador said at his daily news conference.
The decision "was made unanimously by the Bank of Mexico (board of governors) and we respect its autonomy," he said, without revealing how he obtained the information.
Lopez Obrador's comments drew criticism from financial market analysts because it preceded the Bank of Mexico's own scheduled announcement by several hours.
"Never before has a monetary policy decision been leaked in Mexico," tweeted Gabriela Siller, head of economic analysis for the financial group BASE.
"That it is the president who does it raises concerns about the autonomy of the central bank," she added.
Mexico's monetary policy decisions are taken at meetings of the central bank's board of governors, made up of governor Victoria Rodriguez, who was nominated by Lopez Obrador, and her four deputies.
The sessions are usually also attended by a representative of the finance ministry.
Mexico's central bank law states that those who attend the meetings must keep the matters discussed confidential, unless they are otherwise authorized by the governing board.
If confirmed, it will be Mexico's seventh consecutive interest rate rise to tackle inflation that has hit a 20-year high above seven percent -- more than double the central bank's target of around 3.0 percent.