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Mexico president sees foreign direct investment at record high

MEXICO CITY, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Mexico could see a record level of foreign direct investment this year of more than $35 billion, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Thursday.

Pena Nieto spoke at an event with Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, where the U.S. auto company announced an additional investment of $164 million to expand a plant in Ramos Arizpe in the Mexican state of Coahuila, bringing the company's total investment to $1.25 billion.

"Foreign direct investment during the first half of this year was more than $23 billion, nearly $24 billion, which undoubtedly contrasts with earlier investment and is in itself historic," Pena Nieto said.

"And yet given the potential Mexico offers, we forecast, and this is a preliminary forecast, that foreign investment could ultimately be over $35 billion at the end of the year," he added.

That would be the highest level of foreign direct investment on record, topping the $31.5 billion invested in 2007, according to data on the Mexican Economy Ministry's website.

Foreign direct investment was boosted this year by the Belgian-based beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev's acquisition of Grupo Modelo, which went through at the end of May and brought in about $13 billion.