By Anthony Harrup

MEXICO CITY-- Mexico's annual inflation held steady in the first half of August, when higher gasoline and education costs were offset by a drop in vacation-related prices.

The consumer price index rose 0.19% in the first two weeks of the month, leaving the annual rate unchanged from the end of July at 4.07%, the National Statistics Institute said Friday. Core CPI rose 0.15% to an annual rate of 3.34%, up from 3.25%.

The increases were slightly above the median estimates of 0.18% and 0.12%, respectively, in a Wall Street Journal poll of 11 economists.

Increases in high-school and college costs as the new term began, and the monthly increases in government-set gasoline prices, helped push up the CPI, while there was a decline in prices for tourism packages and air fares following the summer vacation period.

Inflation is above the Bank of Mexico's comfort zone of 2% to 4%. The central bank said in a recent report that the annual inflation rate likely will hover around 4% in the second half of the year but slow sharply in early 2015 toward its 3% target as the effects of this year's consumer tax increases wane.

Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 22, 2014 09:53 ET (13:53 GMT)

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