UPDATE 3-Mexico's economy picks up steam in second quarter
(Adds government maintaining 2014 growth forecast)
By Alexandra Alper
MEXICO CITY Aug 21 (Reuters) - Mexican economic growth was stronger than expected in the second quarter as industrial activity and domestic demand perked up, signaling a recovery in Latin America's No. 2 economy is gathering pace.
Gross domestic product grew 1.04 percent in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year , as services and industry expanded at their fastest rate since the third quarter of 2013, data showed on Thursday.
The figure was above forecasts for 0.8 percent growth and the upwardly revised 0.44 percent rate reached in the first quarter. The finance ministry later said it would stick to a 2.7 percent growth outlook for the year.
Benito Berber, an economist at Nomura Securities, said the second quarter number was a positive surprise.
"It looks like the economy will accelerate little by little and a lot of that is thanks to the United States," he said.
A sharp rebound in the U.S. economy helped Mexican factory output during the quarter after a harsh American winter dented U.S. demand for Mexican manufactured goods early this year.
Tax hikes had dampened consumer spending in the first quarter. The weak showing prompted the finance ministry to slash its 2014 growth forecast to 2.7 percent from 3.9 percent in May. Continuación...