UPDATE 2-Mexico factory exports up, consumer imports fastest in over a year
(Adds historical comparisons, Videgaray quote)
By Alexandra Alper
MEXICO CITY May 26 (Reuters) - The pace of Mexican factory export growth rose in April, while non-oil consumer imports surged at their fastest pace in over a year, pointing to a strengthening economic recovery in Latin America's No. 2 economy after a weak start to the year.
Factory exports rose 2.13 percent in April from March, the national statistics agency said on Monday, as non-auto exports picked up 3.48 percent, their strongest clip since May 2013.
Most of Mexico's exports are manufactured goods and nearly 80 percent of them are sent to the United States, where the factories were hurt by bad winter weather in early 2014.
Data on Friday showed Mexico's economy grew just 0.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the prior three months, prompting the government to slash its growth forecast for the year to 2.7 percent from 3.9 percent previously.
Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said the weak numbers were thanks to "practically nil" American growth in the first quarter due to bad weather, new Mexican taxes on goods like soft drinks which crimped local demand and an unexpected drop in oil output.
"With the exception of the fall in oil output, these factors are transitory and recent data confirms that they are dissipating, so greater growth is expected for the rest of the year," he wrote in a column published on Monday.
Non-oil consumer imports rose 6.1 percent in April compared to March, the institute said, the fastest pace since January 2013, in a sign of stronger domestic demand. Continuación...