* Industrial output rises 0.5 pct compared to January
* Manufacturing rises 0.71 pct, fastest in three months
MEXICO CITY, April 11 Mexican industrial
production rose less than expected in February, but the
manufacturing component picked up the pace to notch its fastest
growth in three months.
Industrial output rose 0.5 percent in February
compared to the previous month, missing expectations in a
Reuters poll for a 0.7 percent increase, the national statistics
agency said on Thursday. The figure came in below January's
upwardly revised 1.26 percent expansion.
The figures showed stronger manufacturing after a recent
slowdown in the United States, Mexico's chief trading partner.
Manufacturing - which provides the bulk of Mexico's exports
and is a component of the industrial output figures - rose 0.71
percent compared to January, its fastest month-on-month rise
Among the other components in the index, mining rose 0.2
percent compared with January, utilities fell 0.09 percent and
construction expanded 0.32 percent versus the prior month.
Solid U.S. demand supported Mexican factories amid sluggish
global growth last year, allowing Latin America's No. 2 economy
to notch 3.9 percent growth last year, but the pace of expansion
is seen slowing to 3.5 percent this year.
Higher taxes in the United Sates and the $85 billion in
across-the-board U.S. government spending cuts that took effect
March 1 may weigh on American demand for Mexican goods.
Compared with February 2012, industrial output
fell 1.2 percent, missing expectations for a 0.50 percent rise
and down from January's 1.7 percent annual expansion.