MEXICO CITY, April 4 Stronger growth and
relatively steady demand for oil should put Mexico on course to
balance its budget next year, excluding investment in
state-owned oil firm Pemex, the finance ministry's
chief economist said on Wednesday.
The finance ministry's latest budget estimates forecast the
economy will expand by 3.8 percent in 2013 after projected
growth of 3.5 percent this year. Inflation is seen holding
around the central bank's target of 3 percent plus or minus a
percentage point, Miguel Messmacher told Mexican radio.
The ministry's updated oil price forecast is for an average
$90 per barrel this year, up from an original estimate of around
$85. Oil prices in the U.S. have recently risen above $100 per
barrel. For 2013, the ministry sees an average oil price
of $87 per barrel, Messmacher said.
"On public finances, given an expected oil price above that
originally approved in the budget, and given slightly higher
growth, there shouldn't be any problems fulfilling the economic
package approved for this year," Messmacher said.
The finance ministry had initially forecast 3.3 percent for
2012, but subsequently revised that up.
"The likelihood of us ending the year with lower than
expected revenue is pretty low," he added. "For next year,
consistent with the economic recovery, we are proposing a return
to a balanced budget, excluding investment in Pemex."
Mexico's economy grew by 3.9 percent in 2011.
(Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Andrew Hay)