March 11, 2019 / 6:51 PM / 7 months ago

Mexican president says no sign of recession despite slow growth

MEXICO CITY, March 11 (Reuters) - Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday that there are no signs of an impending recession despite slow economic growth, adding that his flagship infrastructure projects are on track.

In recent weeks, the government has come under pressure as credit ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch issued a series of warnings about Mexican sovereign debt, oil firm Pemex and dozens of corporations.

During a speech marking the first 100 days of his administration, Lopez Obrador conceded that economic expansion remains slow but reiterated his goal of reaching 4 percent growth.

“The economy is coming along, fortunately, though growth has been modest,” he said. “But there is no hint of a recession.”

Mexican economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter of 2018 as manufacturing, mining and construction shrank, and growth for the full year clocked in at 2 percent, according to data published by the national statistics agency in January.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, said the administration is making progress on its infrastructure projects. In April, the government will publish a call for tenders for the Maya Train project in southern Mexico, he said.

He stressed that all of the projects the government is launching, which include airport renovations and a new refinery, will be completed by the end of his term.

Lopez Obrador roiled markets last year with his decision to cancel a new airport for the capital, one of the signature projects of his predecessor, former president Enrique Pena Nieto. Lopez Obrador stressed canceling the airport project was the “best decision,” despite the costs. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; writing by Julia Love Editing by James Dalgleish)

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