UPDATE 4-Mexico slashes 2015 economic growth forecast to 2.2-3.2 pct
(Adds cut to official growth estimate, deputy finance minister comments)
By Michael O'Boyle
MEXICO CITY May 21 (Reuters) - Mexico's government on Thursday slashed its economic growth forecast to between 2.2 to 3.2 percent this year after data showed the economy grew at its slowest pace in over a year undermined by flagging oil revenue and weak U.S. growth.
The economy expanded by 0.4 percent in the January-March period compared with the fourth quarter, slowing from 0.7 percent growth in the fourth quarter, the national statistics agency said,
A steep drop in crude prices has hit government revenue from oil sales by state energy company Pemex, forcing the finance ministry to rein in its infrastructure spending.
Total exports to the United States, an engine of the economy, also slowed their expansion, as the U.S. economy grew only 0.2 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter.
The government cut its 2015 economic growth forecast a full percentage point from the previous outlook of 3.2-4.2 percent, Deputy Finance Minister Fernando Aportela said.
"The U.S. economy is expected to recover its dynamism during the year, which will strengthen Mexico's non-oil exports," Aportela told a news conference. He also said domestic demand was clearly improving following sluggish growth in recent years.
Analysts expect the Mexican economy will grow 2.7 percent in 2015, according to a Banamex poll on Wednesday. Continuación...