Mexican economy grows nearly 25% in May as recovery gathers steam

Women work in the manufacture of soft toys at Andy's toy factory in Xonacatlan, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues ahead of Valentine's Day in Mexico, February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY, June 17 (Reuters) - Mexico’s economy grew 24.8% in May compared with the same month last year, as a recovery from a slump induced by the coronavirus pandemic gathered pace, a preliminary estimate published by national statistics agency INEGI showed on Thursday.

A breakdown of the figures showed that secondary activities, which include manufacturing, were up by 36.4% from May 2020. Meanwhile tertiary activities, which encompass the service sector, expanded by 19.8% over the same period.

If the preliminary estimate is confirmed, May's activity was only about 0.4% behind the level reached in February 2020, the last full month before pandemic-related restrictions began to hit the economy, according to an index compiled by INEGI.

INEGI noted that April's data had been revised up to show growth of some 21.6% from the same month in 2020, one percentage point higher than the previous estimate.

The agency also said the preliminary figures pointed to month-on-month economic growth of 0.5% between April and May.

The coronavirus pandemic hit the Mexican economy hard last year, reducing gross domestic product by some 8.5%. In 2021, the finance ministry says the economy could grow by 6.5%, recouping much of the ground lost.

Robust export activity has helped to drive the recovery, which has benefited from massive economic stimulus spending in the United States, Mexico’s top trade partner.

Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Alex Richardson

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