April 25, 2019 / 2:13 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico retail sales rise for second month in February

(Adds details from report, background on consumer confidence)

MEXICO CITY, April 25 (Reuters) - Mexican retail sales rose for the second straight month in February, the national statistics agency said on Thursday, some good news for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador despite growing pessimism about the economic outlook.

Retail sales in Latin America’s second-largest economy climbed 1.2 percent from the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, the national statistics agency said.

The increase in retail sales tracked gains in consumer confidence, which hit a record peak in February.

The consumer confidence reading had been on the rise since Lopez Obrador took office in December, though it dipped in March, according to the statistics agency.

The finance ministry this month lowered its growth estimate for the economy in 2019 to between 1.1 percent and 2.1 percent from a previous estimate of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. Private sector economists have also cut their forecasts.

Ratings agencies have warned in recent months that Mexico is at risk of a downgrade to its credit rating.

Compared with the same month last year, retail sales rose by 1.8 percent in February, the agency’s data showed. (Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom Editing by Susan Thomas)

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