June 6, 2019 / 3:26 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil auto output growth slows down in May, in line with economy

(Updates with details from Anfavea press conference)

SAO PAULO, June 6 (Reuters) - Automobile production in Brazil grew 3.1% in May from April, slower growth than in the previous month, along with a slowing of manufacturing output in Latin America's largest economy.

Domestic sales grew 5.8% in May from April, the national automakers' association said on Thursday.

Exports, however, remain a sour spot for Brazil's automakers, down 42.2% so far in 2019 in large part due to the economic crisis in neighboring Argentina.

President of industry group Anfavea, Luiz Carlos Moraes, told reporters that export figures will likely end the year down around that amount.

Automakers in Brazil produced some 275,700 new cars and trucks last month, while sales totaled 245,400 vehicles, Anfavea said.

Compared to a year ago, auto output rose 29.9% percent and sales rose 21.6%, data skewed by the fact that a truck drivers strike a year ago all but paralyzed Brazil's economy in the last 11 days of May 2018.

Brazil was one of the world's five biggest auto markets until its 2015-16 recession and remains a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. (Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall)

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