** Originally published at World Now:
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's economy grew only 1% in real terms in the first quarter of 2013, the Finance Ministry said Thursday, a stark result for government economists who continue to project Mexico will grow by 3.5% for the year overall.
The figure represents a "deceleration," economists at the Finance Ministry said in a news conference. They laid the blame mostly on external factors, such as growth rates in the United States.
The news of a slowdown came as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration hosts President Obama for the first time Thursday and Friday, with the intertwined national economies high on the binational agenda. The two leaders held a news conference Thursday at the National Palace in the heart of the historic center in Mexico City. On Friday, Obama will deliver a speech to students at the capital's Anthropology Museum.
Other financial signals looked grim for Mexico as Obama arrived here, contrasting with an aggressive media campaign meant to boost global confidence in Mexico's economy. Retail sales have dropped and industrial output has slowed in the first months of 2013, financial news reports said.
In another indicator that hits at the wallets of Mexico's workers and consumers, the inflation rate hit 4.25% in March, an almost 68% increase over December 2012, Mexican economists said.
* Photo by AP via LAT.