UPDATE 2-Mexico cuts 2016 economic outlook after 1st-qtr GDP data
(Recasts with government growth estimate cut) By Jean Luis Arce and Michael O'Boyle MEXICO CITY, May 20 (Reuters) - Mexican growth picked up in the first quarter on stronger domestic consumption and as industrial output gained some steam, but the government cut its full-year growth forecast due to weakness in the United States, Mexico's top trading partner. The economy grew by 0.8 percent from the prior quarter, the national statistics agency said on Friday, above the 0.5 percent rate in the fourth quarter and expectations of 0.7 percent from analysts in a Reuters poll. After the data's release, Mexico's government cut its 2016 growth outlook to 2.2 percent to 3.2 percent from 2.6 percent to 3.6 percent. Deputy Finance Minister Fernando Aportela pointed to weak industrial output in the United States that has directly hit Mexican exports. Analysts have cut back expectations for growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy, projecting an expansion this year of around 2.4 percent. Exports, which mostly go to the United States, have been uneven despite a tumble in the peso currency, while a slump in oil production has also weighed. Data on Friday showed the industrial sector bounced back from a contraction late last year as it expanded at its fastest pace since the second quarter of 2014, rising 1.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter. Services, which buoyed growth last year, rose 0.8 percent, slightly below the 0.9 percent pace of expansion in the fourth quarter. The peso slumped to a three-month low this week and yields on Mexican interest rate swaps jumped as investors bet the central bank will hike interest rates from 3.75 percent in the coming months to try to stabilize the peso's slide. In annual terms, the economy expanded 2.6 percent compared with a year earlier, in line with estimates and above a downwardly revised 2.4 percent expansion in the fourth quarter. (Writing by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by W Simon and Simon Gardner)
© Thomson Reuters 2016 All rights reserved.