UPDATE 2-Mexico retail sales rebound strongly in August after slump
* Retail sales up 1.1 pct m/m; Reuters poll 0.2 pct
* Retail sales in July dropped by a revised 1.32 pct
* Sales up 4.8 pct y/y; Reuters poll 3.3 pct
* Recent data suggests some resilience in late 2012
MEXICO CITY, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Mexican retail sales rebounded more strongly than expected in August from a slump in July, adding to evidence that a slowdown in Latin America's number two economy may not be as severe as expected.
Retail sales rose 1.10 percent in August from July, eclipsing expectations in a Reuters poll for a 0.20 percent increase and offsetting a revised 1.32 percent drop in July, the national statistics office said on Monday.
Economists expect Mexican economic growth to ease in the second half of the year but the jump in retail sales coupled with a fall in Mexico's jobless rate to its lowest in nearly four years in September suggests some resilience.
Alberto Bernal, head of research at Bulltick Capital Markets, said the August numbers confirm his expectation of a robust 4.2 percent growth rate for Mexico in 2012, and limited concern about inflation.
"It's a great number but it's not an 'overheating economy' number," he said. "We are on a sweet spot in terms of positive growth."
The economy grew at a more than 4 percent annual rate in the first half of 2012 but Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade has estimated it will grow between 3.5 percent and 4 percent in total in both 2012 and 2013.
In September, annual inflation accelerated to a 2-1/2-year high of 4.77 percent, above the central bank's 4 percent ceiling for the fourth month in a row.
But Mexico's central bank is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate steady at 4.5 percent through 2013 as it balances inflation against the risks from slowing global growth.
Mexican consumer confidence fell to its lowest in nine months in September, dipping for the second straight month, and exports have also suffered from weak demand in the United States.
Compared with August 2011, sales adjusted for seasonal factors were up by 4.80 percent, beating expectations for a rise of 3.30 percent.
Mexico's retail association has said sales at stores that have been open for at least 12 months rose 8.8 percent in September.
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