Mexico Industrial Output Rises at Fastest Pace Since May

Mexico’s industrial production rose at the fastest annual pace in eight months in January, beating all 16 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Output climbed 4.2 percent from the year earlier and 0.8 percent from December, the national statistics agency said on its website today. Production was expected to decline 0.1 percent in the month, according to the median estimate of nine economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Mexico’s gross domestic product is expected to expand 3.5 percent this year, down from 3.9 percent in 2011 as Europe’s debt crisis weighs on global demand, according to the Finance Ministry. Still, recent data show that the nation’s economy is in a better situation than six months ago and may see “positive surprises,” Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said March 8.

“The output figure could give us a better first quarter and a better base for 2012,” said Rafael Camarena, an economist at Banco Santander. (SAN) If data keeps improving “it will give us a chance to lift our growth forecast for this year” from its current 3.2 percent.

The economy created about 130,000 jobs last month, the Mexican Social Security Institute reported yesterday.

Manufacturing industry led the growth in industrial output, expanding 5.6 percent from a year earlier, followed by construction, with 4.8 percent growth, the statistics institute said. Mining fell 1.3 percent, the institute said.

Today’s report isn’t enough to change the growth outlook for the year, said Fernando Losada, an economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc in New York.

Mexico’s central bank board, led by Agustin Carstens, next meet on March 16 and will keep the benchmark rate at 4.5 percent for a 25th straight meeting, according to all 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The peso gained 0.2 percent to 12.6404 per dollar at 10:57 a.m. local time. The currency has strengthened 10.3 percent against the dollar this year, the best performance among the 16- most traded currencies tracked by Bloomberg worldwide.

Posted in Politic / Economic issues