Mexican economy shrinks 8.2 percent in first quarter

May 21st, 2009 - 7:48 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, May 21 (EFE) Mexico’s gross domestic product fell 8.2 percent during the first quarter compared with the same period last year, the country’s statistics agency INEGI said Wednesday.
As recently as last month, private economists were expecting a first-quarter GDP drop of 5.5 percent and a decline of 4 percent for all of 2009, but several institutions issued more pessimistic outlooks within the last two weeks.

The global recession has put an end to seven straight years of economic expansion in Mexico, but even the highest growth rate achieved during that period - 4.6 percent in 2006 - was unimpressive in comparison with other major economies in the developing world.

The INEGI statistics agency released the gloomy figures hours after CEEG, a group representing the Mexican subsidiaries of dozens of multinational corporations, said that its members plan to invest an additional $6.3 billion in the Latin American country this year.

President Felipe Calderon welcomed the announcement, which was made at his official residence by CEEG chairman Julio Armando de Quesada, and called the move “a concrete example of confidence” in the Mexican economy.

Founded in 2004, CEEG is a forum whose member companies account for 10.5 percent of Mexico’s GDP, 12 percent of its exports and 500,000 direct jobs.

The group includes local subsidiaries of Spanish energy giants Iberdrola and Gas Natural, American Express, French insurer Axa, Citigroup, auto-parts maker Bosch and BP, among others.

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