Mexican president to pitch anti-inflation plan to Biden

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. November 18, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday that during a planned visit to Washington next month he would propose to his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden that they craft a joint anti-inflationary plan to tackle surging prices.

Mexico's leftist president did not set out details of what such a plan could entail, but he pointed to three measures his administration had taken to keep down the price of household staples like foodstuffs and fuels.

Lopez Obrador noted how his government had upped subsidies for both gasoline and diesel, boosted food production and had urged companies not to pass on increases to consumers.

"It's working well for us," he told reporters at his regular morning news conference.

Inflation in Mexico is running at its highest levels in over two decades, prompting the central bank on Thursday to hike its benchmark interest rate by a record 75 basis points to 7.75%.

Lopez Obrador took a swipe the Bank of Mexico, saying that while he respected its autonomy, experts who ran central banks needed to think of ways of tackling inflation other than slowing down the economy by hiking interest rates.

Mexico's economy performed better than expected in April, data from the national statistics agency showed on Friday. It grew by 1.1% from March, beating the consensus forecast of a Reuters poll of analysts for expansion of 0.8%.

The Mexican president is expected to visit Biden in the second half of next month after he opted not to attend a U.S.-hosted regional summit in Los Angeles earlier this month.

(Reporting by Valentine Hilaire and Raul Cortes Fernandez in Mexico City; Editing by Dave Graham and Matthew Lewis)

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