Trump attacks on Mexico plants sets ominous tone

Automotive News -Donald Trump hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet. But already he is roiling the auto industry by expanding his long-running attacks on importers beyond the usual target, Ford Motor Co. — first to General Motors over Mexican production of the Chevrolet Cruze and then to Toyota Motor Corp. over a plant it’s building south of the U.S. border.

Ford’s Mexico move is about production efficiency

Automotive News – On the surface, Ford Motor Co.’s decision to scrap a $1.6 billion Mexican plant and invest $700 million in Michigan is a public relations victory. It makes peace with the incoming Trump administration that repeatedly berated Ford on the campaign trail. But in reality, the decision has more to do with good business practices — namely, using plant capacity and coping with a drop in demand for small cars — than any tariff threat or aggressive tweets from the president-elect.

Trump says U.S. to build wall and be “paid back” by Mexico

Workers erected a portion of the existing border fence.
Workers erected a portion of the existing border fence.

By Kim Hjelmgaard / USAToday

President-elect Donald Trump defended a plan Friday that would see the United States initially pay for a border wall with Mexico and then be reimbursed at a later date.

“The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!” Trump tweeted Friday.

The proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall was one of Trump’s key campaign pledges. He repeatedly vowed to make Mexico pay for it. His reference to “dishonest media” was related to reports that emerged late Thursday that appeared to suggest the president-elect was trying to modify his vow.

Trump did not specify in his tweet whether his administration would seek to build the wall with taxpayer money, although he suggested in a speech in October that U.S. government funds could initially be used to get the project off the ground.

“I said Mexico is paying for the wall, with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such a wall, OK?” Trump said at a rally in Gettysburg, Pa. on Oct. 22. “We’re going to have the wall. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country won’t pay for the wall.

Riots over gas price hike turn deadly

AP – Protests and looting fueled by anger over gasoline price hikes in Mexico have led to four deaths, the ransacking of at least 300 stores and the arrests of more than 700 people, officials said. The country’s business chambers said the combination of highway, port and terminal blockades and looting this week forced many stores and businesses to close and threatened supplies of basic goods and fuel.

Central bank confirms 2nd forex intervention

Reuters – Mexico’s central bank confirmed it had sold dollars during the Asian trading session on Friday, its second intervention the day after it did the same during Mexican and U.S. trading hours to fight a slump in the peso. At 7:45 a.m. Mexico City time, the peso was up 0.53 percent at 21.31 pesos per dollar.

Mexico’s Trump “contingency plan” isn’t working

CNN – Mexico’s “contingency plan” to protect its economy from the “hurricane” effect of Donald Trump’s electoral victory isn’t working. On Thursday, Mexico’s central bank tried to prop up its battered currency, the peso, by selling dollars to international investors. It’s the latest move by Mexico to stop the peso’s bleeding from Trump’s threats to use tariffs, build a wall and tear up a trade deal.

Mexico’s Gas Price Hike Spurs Looting And Blockades

Residents pilfer gasoline and diesel from a gas station in Allende, Mexico.  (AP)
Residents pilfer gasoline and diesel from a gas station in Allende, Mexico. (AP)

Alexandra Alper and Lizbeth Diaz / Reuters

Mexicans angry over a double-digit hike in gasoline prices looted stores and blockaded roads on Wednesday, prompting over 250 arrests amid escalating unrest over the rising cost of living in Latin America’s second biggest economy.

Twenty-three stores were sacked and 27 blockades put up in Mexico City, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said, days after the government raised gasoline costs by 14 to 20%, outraging Mexicans already battling rising inflation and a weak currency.

Mexican retailers’ association ANTAD urged federal and state authorities to intervene quickly, saying 79 stores had been sacked and 170 forcibly closed due to blockades.

Deputy interior Minister Rene Juarez said over 250 people had been arrested for vandalism and that federal authorities were working with security officials in Mexico City and the nearby states of Mexico and Hidalgo to address the unrest.

“These acts are outside the law and have nothing to do with peaceful protest nor freedom of expression,” Juarez said in a press conference late on Wednesday.

The hike is part of a gradual, year-long price liberalization the Pena Nieto administration has promised to implement this year.

Minister sacked over Trump visit gets key post

BBC – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has named Luis Videgaray as his new foreign minister. Videgaray was sacked as finance minister last year over the role he played in organizing the visit of then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Videgaray will now lead talks with the Trump administration, including on the wall Trump has promised to build between the US and Mexico.

The real reason Ford ditched plans for Mexico plant

Washington Post – Analysts say Ford’s decision to ditch plans to build a Mexico plant stemmed more from its long-term goals than the new administration or devotion to U.S. workers. The company aims to invest $4.5 billion in electric vehicles by 2020.

First baby registered with maternal last names

AP – The first baby in Mexico to be officially named with the maternal surnames of both parents has been registered in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. The tradition in Latin America is to give babies two last names — the father’s surname, followed by the mother’s paternal surname. So baby Bárbara, born to José González de Diego and Alicia Vera Zboralska would normally have been named Bárbara González Vera, losing both parents’ maternal surnames. But to honor the maternal line, the couple won a court injunction allowing them to name their child Bárbara de Diego Zboralska.