KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's annual inflation rate, which stayed above 3 percent each month last year, likely cooled to 2.9 percent in January, a Reuters poll showed.

Headline inflation <MYCPI=ECI> came down after hitting an eight-year high of 5.1 percent in March 2017, but did not drop below 3 percent throughout the year. The December rate was 3.5 percent.

The last time the annual inflation rate was under 3 percent was December 2016, when it was 1.7 percent.

Malaysia's central bank raised its key interest rate <MYINTR=ECI> for the first time in three and a half years in January.


Inflation data for January was originally scheduled to be released on Feb. 21. The statistics department has not given a reason for the delay.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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