Mexico asks business leaders not to ‘abuse’ prices amid high inflation

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President of the Supreme Court of Justice Arturo Zaldivar delivers his third annual report of activities, in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday his administration had spoken with one of the country’s top business associations to ask for help persuading companies not to raise prices in the face of high inflation.

Mexican inflation in November was 7.37%, the highest level in two decades. The central bank on Thursday stepped up efforts to rein in price pressures by raising its benchmark interest rate 50 basis points to 5.50%, outpacing market expectations.

Lopez Obrador said some business leaders were abusing prices with 15% to 20% increases, even though inflation is lower.

“The finance minister has already spoken with the president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) to help us by speaking with businessmen so that (prices) are not abused,” he told a regular news conference.

“We’re going to take great care of inflation, it’s a very important task,” he added.

The CCE is arguably Mexico’s most influential business lobby.

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Lopez Obrador said inflation was a global phenomenon but that he was hopeful it would be temporary.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes; writing by Cassandra Garrison; editing by Jonathan Oatis)