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The International Monetary Fund Expects Mexico’s Economy to Grow in 2014

The International Monetary Fund expects Mexico’s economy to show an upturn in the coming months and grow 3 percent in 2014, the director of that organization’s Western Hemisphere Department said.

Alejandro Werner, a former Mexican deputy finance secretary, told CNNExpansion that there is a high probability of a “positive surprise” after the weak results in the year’s first few months.

Even so, the IMF’s forecast for 3 percent growth is still well below that of Mexico’s Finance Secretariat, which expects the economy to expand by 3.9 percent this year.

Mexico grew at a paltry 1.1 percent clip in 2013.

“I think the probability that we’ll have a rebound and a positive surprise in the next few quarters is high and in that regard we’re monitoring the economy,” Werner said, calling the IMF’s forecast “logical.”

Werner pointed to a recovery of the U.S. economy, low natural gas prices in North America and a reduction in labor costs in Mexico and China as factors that could lead to an uptick in growth.

In addition, structural reforms will help accelerate economic expansion, according to Werner, who said “in both the United States and Mexico the grounds for recovery are there.”

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Nevertheless, he said Mexico still faces different obstacles that are holding back economic development and hindering the country’s goal of raising living standards and ceasing to be an emerging-market economy.

More than 30 economists lowered their forecast for Mexico’s economic growth in 2014 to 3.1 percent, according to the Mexican central bank’s latest survey.

The Bank of Mexico also has said it may lower its 2014 growth expectations, while the Finance Secretariat says it will wait until first-quarter data is released on May 23 before deciding whether or not to alter its forecast.