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Mexico raises benchmark interest rate to 6.50 percent

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's central bank says it has raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to 6.50 percent, in a bid to contain rising inflation.

The Bank of Mexico announced the hike from the previous 6.25 percent on Thursday, after the country recorded a 5.29 percent annual inflation rate in the first half of March. The bank's inflation goal is 3 percent.

The move came despite significant gains by Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar in recent months.

The peso had fallen as low as 22 to $1 in January, when U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

But on Thursday the peso closed at an interbank rate of 18.67 to $1.

The bank said "despite the significant appreciation of the peso against the dollar ... uncertainty prevails in the international scene."