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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's economy should accelerate in the second quarter as solid growth in the auto industry boosts its manufacturing sector, the country's finance minister said on Monday.
"We think growth of 3.5 (percent) in the second quarter is clearly attainable," Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said in an interview with local radio. "Car production (data) indicates that we're moving in that direction."
Annual economic growth slowed to just 0.8 percent in the first quarter, its weakest in three years, prompting the government to cut its 2013 growth estimate.
Mexico's growing auto industry, the eighth largest in the world, is a key component of its booming manufacturing sector. The national auto industry is expected to produce a new record of between 3.15 million and 3.2 million light vehicles in 2013.
First-quarter growth was crimped by economic weakness in the United States, Mexico's main trading partner, as well as a slump in public sector expenditure.
Mexico's economy grew 0.45 percent in the first quarter compared with the final quarter of last year, according to the national statistics agency.
(Reporting by Mexico Newsroom; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Diane Craft)