UPDATE 1-Mexico's GDP growth slows to about 1 pct in first quarter

Wed May 1, 2013 12:15am EDT

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MEXICO CITY, April 30 (Reuters) - Mexico's economy slowed markedly in the first quarter of this year, hit by a slowdown in the United States, the country's finance ministry said late Tuesday.

Growth in the quarter dipped to about 1 percent for the quarter due to weaker economic growth in late 2012 in the United States, Mexico's main trading partner, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Mexico's public sector ran a March fiscal deficit of 13.7 billion pesos ($1.13 billion), roughly half the size of the budget deficit in the year-earlier period.

The Mexican economy eased in the fourth quarter last year to a 3.2 percent growth rate compared with the same period in 2011, though it grew twice as fast as in the prior quarter.

Last year, strong spending by Mexican consumers drove the acceleration, helping the economy to attain 3.9 percent growth for the year.

But a worrying fall in manufacturing raised concerns about resilience in the key export sector, and the economy is seen slowing to 3.5 percent in 2013, as the global slowdown weighs.

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