* Industrial output rises 0.5 pct compared to January
* Manufacturing rises 0.71 pct, fastest in three months
MEXICO CITY, April 11 (Reuters) - 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 since November.
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.