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UPDATE 2-Mexican central bank holds rates steady, but board splits

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MEXICO CITY, June 27 (Reuters) - Mexico's central bank held its benchmark interest rate steady on Thursday, as expected, though as worries over the economy grew, the board was not united in its decision for the first time since two new members joined at the start of 2019.

In a statement, the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) said one member had voted to lower borrowing costs by 25 basis points, while the remainder of the five-strong board opted to hold the overnight interbank rate unchanged at 8.25%.

All 16 analysts and economists surveyed in a Reuters poll had forecast that Banxico would keep its key lending rate at 8.25%, the level it has been at since Dec. 20.

"The balance of risks for growth has become more uncertain and the downward bias has increased," the bank said.

The bank did not say which board member had voted against holding rates steady, though minutes from a previous May 16 monetary policy meeting offered a potential clue.

At that meeting, one new board member, Gerardo Esquivel, dissented on the tone of the policy statement, calling it too hawkish and worrying that the bank's language was fueling higher inflation expectations, the minutes showed.

Esquivel, who had been tapped as deputy finance minister in the administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador before moving to the bank, voted to hold rates steady in May.

He and Jonathan Heath, a private sector economist, were ratified to serve on the bank's board in January. (Reporting by Dave Graham and Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)