By Anthony Harrup
MEXICO CITY--Mexico's economy probably accelerated in the fourth quarter of last year on external and domestic demand, bringing full-year growth to around 4%, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
In its fourth-quarter report on public finances, the ministry estimated that gross domestic product grew around 3.6% in the fourth quarter, compared with the year-earlier period.
The estimated 4% growth for all of 2012 is slightly higher than the 3.9% registered in 2011.
Economic activity accelerated from the third quarter, when GDP expanded 3.3% on the year, the ministry said, noting an improvement in the U.S. industrial sector, which is a key driver of demand for Mexican exports, and also robust domestic demand in Mexico.
"The expansion in private consumption and investment was backed by job creation, credit growth and increased consumer and producer confidence," the ministry said.
The National Statistics Institute is scheduled to report official GDP numbers for the fourth quarter on Feb. 18.
Mexico's fiscal deficit last year was equivalent to 0.6% of GDP, excluding financed investment at state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, which accounted for an additional 2% of GDP. The deficit excluding Pemex was bigger than the 0.4% initially planned.
For 2013, the federal government expects to have a balanced budget excluding Pemex investment, and a deficit equivalent to 2% of GDP including Pemex.
The ministry said revenue grew 3.3% last year, with higher oil and non-oil tax revenue, while spending increased 3.8%.
Spending on economic and social development rose 4.8% and 3.1%, respectively, while state pension payments rose 6.5% and public sector financing costs rose 7%, largely as a result of a weaker average exchange rate for the peso.
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