UPDATE 2-Mexico industrial output dips in March for second month

jueves 12 de mayo de 2016 12:23 GYT
 

(Adds impact on quarterly growth, economist comment)
    MEXICO CITY, May 12 (Reuters) - Mexican industrial output
dipped for a second month in a row in March as mining, factory
output and utilities contracted, data showed on Thursday,
pointing to weaker-than-expected economic growth in the first
quarter. 
    Industrial output fell 0.2 percent from February
in seasonally adjusted terms, the national statistics agency
said, against expectations for a 0.05 percent increase in a
Reuters poll.
    The surprisingly weak data suggests that a preliminary
estimate released late last month for economic growth during the
first quarter in Latin America's No. 2 economy was overly
optimistic, economists noted. 
    "Unfortunately, there are no telling signs of a significant
near-term turnaround of the industrial sector despite a very
competitive currency," Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos
wrote in a client note. 
    Mexico's peso has slumped sharply since late 2014,
but the currency weakness has not helped spur significant growth
in exports.
    Among the components of industrial output, factory
production slipped 0.1 percent in March compared to February.
    Mexico exports mostly factory goods, nearly 80 percent of
which it sends to the United States. Uneven U.S. demand weighed
on growth in Mexico's economy last year.
    Utilities fell by 0.8 percent compared to February while
mining output dropped 1.1 percent, all in seasonally adjusted
terms. Oil production was down 1.6 percent month-on-month in its
biggest drop since last August.
    Mexico has been hit by a decade-long slump in oil
production, while a plunge in crude prices has spurred state-run
company Pemex to cut back on investment plans and damped
interest in a landmark opening of the energy sector to private
investment.
    The construction sector grew 0.6 percent month-on-month.
Domestic growth has helped offset weaker exports and the oil
slump over the last year.
    Compared with March 2015, industrial output fell 2.0 percent
 compared to expectations for a 0.8 percent drop.

 (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Bernadette Baum and
Phil Berlowitz)