(Recasts with services data, adds background)
MEXICO CITY, April 25 Mexico's economy expanded
in February at the fastest pace in seven months as a rebound in
the service sector pointed to stronger growth ahead after a weak
start to the year.
Mexico's economy grew 0.54 percent in February from January
at a seasonally adjusted pace, up from an upwardly
revised 0.24 percent expansion in January, the national
statistics agency said on Friday.
The service sector expanded 0.51 percent in February
compared to the prior month, bouncing back after dropping in
December and posting flat growth in January. Industry grew 0.28
percent in February, month-on-month.
Economic growth sank to a four-year low of 1.1 percent last
year on weak factory output and a slump in construction. A slow
start to 2014 drove analysts to cut their forecasts for this
year to 3 percent versus a government outlook of 3.9 percent.
Mexico's central bank is expected to announce on Friday that
it was holding its main interest rate steady as easing inflation
pressures give policymakers room to leave borrowing costs low to
support the economic recovery.
The Mexican economy expanded 1.74 percent compared with
February of 2013, the institute said, below the
upwardly revised 0.96 percent expansion seen in January.
(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle Editing by W Simon)