June 11, 2019 / 3:04 PM / a month ago

Mexico industry output rebounds in April, lifting sluggish economy

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s industrial output increased by 1.5% in April from the previous month, data from the national statistics agency showed on Tuesday, delivering a boost to the economy after a slump during the first quarter.

The seasonally adjusted rise in output was the third monthly increase in four months, and offset a decline in industrial production of 1.2% during March, according to data published by statistics institute INEGI.

Latin America’s second biggest economy contracted by 0.2% during the first quarter, stirring fears that Mexico could enter a recession if activity did not pick up.

The rise in output was driven by a 0.6% monthly increase in manufacturing, a 2.2% rise in construction activity and a 1.6% increase in production by energy providers and utilities, the data showed. Mining output was down 0.6%.

Compared with the previous year, Mexican industrial output declined by 2.9%, more than the 2.5% drop forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Recession fears were fanned last month when U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to impose punitive tariffs on Mexican exports to the United States if the government did not do more to contain illegal immigration from Central America.

Mexico and the United States struck a deal last Friday to avert the tariffs, but the Trump administration said it may still introduce the duties if migration is not curbed.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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