Resilient Mexico raises forecasts as growth trumps expectations

Mexico’s central bank has revised its 2017 growth forecast again – and for once, it’s gone up.
Mexico’s central bank has revised its 2017 growth forecast again – and for once, it’s gone up.

By Sheky Espejo and Anthony Esposito / Reuters

Mexico’s central bank on Wednesday raised its 2017 growth forecast, a sign Latin America’s No. 2 economy has proved resilient to policy proposals by U.S. President Donald Trump that were expected to harm exports and investment.

Mexico’s first-quarter gross domestic product was stronger than forecast and 2017 growth should come in between 1.5 – 2.5 percent, up from a previous estimate of 1.3 – 2.3 percent, the bank said in its quarterly inflation report. The upgrade came after the finance ministry raised its growth outlook last week.

Banco de Mexico kept its 2018 growth expectations unchanged, however, at between 1.7 – 2.7 percent. Inflation will be above the 4 percent target range for most of this year, but should trend down toward the end of 2017, and converge toward the 3 percent target by the end of 2018, the bank said.

The growth estimates were seen as good news for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto whose party faces a closely-fought state election this weekend that serves as a curtain-raiser for the presidential vote in 2018.

Heavy rain forecast for Pacific coast

Weather Channel – Tropical Depression Two-E is tip-toeing toward Mexico’s Pacific coast, and it will likely develop into this season’s next tropical storm. A tropical storm watch has been issued by the government of Mexico for a part of the coast of Oaxaca state. This does not include Acapulco or Zihuatanejo.

Mexico’s oil gas reserves slip in 2016

Reuters -Mexico’s oil and gas reserves fell last year as fewer discoveries of gas deposits offset a rise in additional crude reserves, the sector regulator said. Overall so-called 2P hydrocarbon reserves, or deposits considered proven and probable, fell nearly 6% in 2016 to total 16.77 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), compared to 2015 figures, regulator CNH said.

Mexico City’s last living river

Foreign Policy -The most populous city in North America has only one living river not confined to underground pipes: the fragile Río Magdalena. The forest ecosystem that nurtures it is the same one that supports the majority of Mexico City’s water sources. Though the Magdalena feeds into the water grid, it turns from clear to sludgy shortly after it makes contact with the periphery of the city. The river becomes a “disgusting sewer,” says photographer Luc Forsyth, as soon as it hits the urban sprawl.

If the PRI can’t win in the state of Mexico, it’s in big trouble

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is surrounded by supporters as he arrives at a campaign event for Delfina Gomez. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)
Andrés Manuel López Obrador is surrounded by supporters as he arrives at a campaign event for Delfina Gomez. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Associated Press

The banner stretched across the stage carried the face of Delfina Gomez, a teacher-turned-politician with the leftist Morena party seeking the Mexico state governorship, and that of her party’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a charismatic early favorite for a third run for Mexico’s presidency.

One year before Mexicans pick their new top leader, the impending gubernatorial election in Mexico state is seen as a referendum on the government of Enrique Pena Nieto, who was governor here before becoming president five years ago as the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI.

A PRI win could stanch the bleeding after the party’s loss last year of four governorships it had always held. Mexico state has long been a key source of the PRI’s so-called “voto duro,” or hard vote — voters it can count on year after year, most of them from a lower socio-economic status, less educated and many older than 50, said Ivonne Acuna, a professor in Iberoamerican University’s social and political sciences department.

A Morena victory in the state would give Lopez Obrador “an immense advance in his quest for the presidency in 2018,” Acuna said. But the opposition vote will be shared among several candidates, which will make it difficult to overcome the PRI’s deeply rooted organization.

A poll released Wednesday by the newspaper El Financiero put PRI candidate Alfredo del Mazo ahead of Gomez by five percentage points in the gubernatorial contest. Juan Zepeda of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, which Lopez Obrador left to form Morena, was a distant third and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the National Action Party came in fourth. The poll surveyed 1,200 eligible Mexico state voters from May 20-23 and had a margin of error of three percentage points.

With more than 11 million voters, the state of Mexico has been governed by the PRI for 88 years and is the largest potential prize of three PRI-controlled states holding gubernatorial races June 4. The others are Coahuila and Nayarit.

“For the PRI, winning Mexico state is indispensable to be able to have something to do in 2018” during the presidential election, said researcher Marcela Bravo Ahuja at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Center for Political Studies. “That’s not to say that if it wins Mexico state it’s guaranteed, far from it, but if it doesn’t win Mexico state there won’t be anything to do.”

Slim firm eyes electric taxis to battle pollution

Fox News – Giant Motors, an automaker partially owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is working on a prototype electric taxi to replace the gas-guzzling cabs polluting Mexico City’s air. Giant has partnered with electric vehicle maker Moldex, a unit of Mexican breadmaker Grupo Bimbo, and four Mexican universities to produce the environmentally friendly car that will eventually replace part of Mexico City’s more than 130,000 registered cabs, said Elias Massri, chief executive of Giant Motors Latinoamerica.

Politician mocked for campaign hashtag

The Guardian – In politics today, finding the right hashtag for your social media campaign can be as important as selecting a candidate or crafting a manifesto. Few electoral teams can hope to attain the inadvertent viral success achieved by a Mexican politician whose campaign has been given the dubious honour of being called “the worst in history” for his choice of hashtag.

Journalist seeking asylum returns to Mexico

El Paso Times – The 26-year-old Mexican journalist who had been seeking political asylum in El Paso has returned to his country after his request for release under parole was denied for a second time by U.S. authorities. Martin Mendez Pineda, from Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, spent more than three months at the El Paso Processing Center.

Woman wearing sandals wins 31-mile marathon

Weather – The idea of running a race without sneakers sounds unfeasible, but a 22-year-old woman in Mexico finished first place in a 31-mile race equipped with a pair of sandals made from tires. María Lorena Ramirez beat 500 other runners in the female category of the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo that took place in Puebla.