UPDATE 2-Mexico consumer confidence rebounds in October

Mon Nov 5, 2012 10:21am EST

Related Topics

* Adjusted consumer confidence rises to 96.8 in October

* Outlook on major purchases improves after inflation spike

MEXICO CITY Nov 5 (Reuters) - Mexican consumer confidence rebounded in October after slumping for two months, supported by cooler inflation and falling unemployment, official data showed on Monday.

The seasonally adjusted index rose to 96.8 in October compared to an upwardly revised 94.1 in September, according to data from the national statistics agency.

Mexico has so far weathered a global downturn better than many economies, buoyed by U.S. demand for its exports. But consumer confidence still lags behind levels seen before the 2008/2009 recession.

"This data implies a recovery in consumption, a boost," said Sergio Martin, an economist at HSBC in Mexico City, who said there were still no signs of significant pressure on inflation from demand.

September's index had originally been reported at a nine-month low, but the revision took it to its lowest since March. Confidence fell in August as well.

All the index's components rose, with a sharp increase in the current outlook for the economy compared to a year ago and a rebound in the willingness to buy big-ticket durable goods.

A spike in annual inflation to a 2-1/2-year high of 4.77 percent in September had cut into the appetite for major goods purchases, but the pace of consumer price increases cooled in early October.

The unadjusted index rose to 94.9 in October, and was up compared to 94.0 in September, its lowest since March.

Improving employment and solid manufacturing growth could help support sentiment if inflation continues to cool.

Mexico's jobless rate fell to its lowest in nearly four years in September while the pace of growth in Mexico's manufacturing sector rebounded in October after three months of declining growth.

Still, a U.S. economic slowdown has dragged on Mexico, which sends nearly 80 percent of its exports to its northern neighbor.

The finance ministry said last week that the economy likely cooled to a 3.3 percent growth rate in the third quarter, year-over-year, compared to a 4.1 percent rate in the second quarter versus the same period last year.

The central bank said last month that it could tighten borrowing costs if inflation does not abate, and interest rate swaps reflect bets on a 25-basis-point hike next year to Mexico's benchmark interest rate of 4.50 percent..

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