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UPDATE 2-Mexico's economy seen at pre-pandemic levels in early 2022

Anthony Esposito
·1 min read

(Recasts with quotes and background)

By Anthony Esposito

MEXICO CITY, March 31 (Reuters) - Mexico's economy is seen growing at a quick pace in 2021 and reaching pre-pandemic levels by the beginning of 2022, after suffering its steepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s last year, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Latin America's second largest economy is seen growing 5.3% in 2021, up from a prior projection of 4.6%, and then expanding by 3.6% in 2022, according to a budget document published by the ministry.

"We estimate that by the beginning of 2022 the economy will fully recover to levels prior to the pandemic, underpinned by the recovery of the dynamism of the internal market fueled by vaccinations and the reopening of activities," the document said.

Mexico's economy was already in a slight recession in 2019 and then contracted by some 8.5% in 2020, its deepest dive in almost 90 years, due to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the economy recovered quicker than first estimated in the final quarter of 2020.

The vaccine rollout and "sustained efforts by governments and central banks around the world to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic," suggest the recovery in 2021 will be faster than previously expected, the ministry document said.

An expected acceleration of the economic recovery in the United States, Mexico's main trade partner, "underpinned by its vaccination campaign and the $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus approved on March 10, will give an added boost in Mexico to various sectors closely linked with trade, such as agriculture, agribusiness and manufacturing," the document said.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Alison Williams)