Reuters – Mexico’s coming budget is likely to see a lower “adjustment” to public finances than in the previous budgets, finance minister Jose Antonio Meade said on Tuesday. Mexico has made sizeable cuts to the budget in the past couple of years in a bid to tighten up public finances.
Reuters – Mexican private spending rose 0.7 percent during the first quarter compared to the previous three-month period. Private spending was 3.1 percent higher than during the same period a year earlier. Aggregate demand increased 2.0 percent from the previous quarter, and was up 4.0 percent from the same quarter in 2016.
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.
Reuters – Mexico’s government said it bought back 40 billion pesos ($2.16 billion) of local currency bonds on Thursday, using part of the money it received from the central bank earlier this year to cut its debt.
Reuters – Mexico has attracted nearly 3 billion pesos ($161.50 million) in investment into the country through a tax repatriation plan, a tax official said, as U.S. President Donald Trump has floated policies that could hit growth in Latin America’s No. 2 economy.
Market Watch – A recent report from HSBC found that 70% of millennials in China and 46% of Mexican millennials own a home versus 35% of young adults in the United States.
Violence cost Mexico the equivalent of 18 percent of the gross domestic product in 2016, a year when the homicide rate rose, the 2017 Mexico Peace Index report said Tuesday.
The cost of the violence amounted to 25,000 pesos ($1,335) per person last year, Mexican Institute for the Economy and Peace coordinator Patricia de Obeso told EFE.
The violence is “a tax on the country’s security” that all citizens pay and that comes to more than a month of pay for the average Mexican worker, De Obeso said.
The cost is even higher in states like Colima, where it came to 66,500 pesos ($3,555) and Guerrero, where it totaled 53,600 pesos ($2,865) per capita, the researcher said.
The report’s authors factored direct costs, such as government spending on the armed forces and business spending on security, and indirect costs, including the effect of crime on public perceptions and the loss of a breadwinner for a family.
Society must decide “if the investment we’ve made in the past 10 years in directly fighting drug trafficking … in containing violence, has really had an impact” or whether citizens must ask themselves “what we should be investing in to improve the level of peace,” De Obeso said.
WSJ – The Bank of Mexico raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point Thursday to 6.5% as expected, as the recent appreciation of the peso and inflation that appears to be under control gave the central bank room to soften its tightening stance.
NYT – Like millions of other people from Southeast Asia to Africa to Latin America, Mexicans are absorbing the consequences of a major shift playing out in the global economy. As the Fed lifted rates on Wednesday, it added momentum to a steady stream of money that has been abandoning emerging markets and flowing toward American shores.
Five Thirty Eight – President Trump has threatened to dismantle NAFTA, to build a border wall and to slap hefty tariffs on Mexican imports, all moves that could hobble Mexico’s economy. While the Trump administration might argue that these policies are more about “Making America Great Again” than hurting Mexico, there is reason for concern that they might hurt the U.S. One risk is that the policies themselves could damage the American economy, for example, through higher consumer prices and reduced trade.
WSJ – Mexico ran up a trade deficit of $3.29 billion in January, similar to the year-ago gap as oil prices rose from a year before, pushing up both exports and imports of petroleum. About 80% of Mexico’s exports go to the U.S.
China Economic Review – Average wages in China’s manufacturing sector have soared above those in countries such as Brazil and Mexico. Average hourly wages in China’s manufacturing sector trebled between 2005 and 2016 to $3.60, according to Euromonitor, while during the same period manufacturing wages fell from $2.90 an hour to $2.70 in Brazil, from $2.20 to $2.10 in Mexico, and from $4.30 to $3.60 in South Africa.
WSJ – Mexicans living abroad sent home a record amount of money in 2016, taking advantage of a strong U.S. labor market and a weakening Mexican peso amid worries about actions that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump may take against immigrants or remittances.
Bloomberg – Mexico’s growth slowed in the fourth quarter, dragged down by falling oil production, even before the full impact of President Donald Trump’s potential to hurt the economy was fully felt.
USAToday – The United States directs an average of $320 million worth of aid a year to Mexico for various programs, all of which appear to be targets for President Trump as he looks for ways to pay for the proposed border wall with our southern neighbor. But specialists say the aid won’t make for much of a bargaining chip as he tries to goad Mexico into footing the bill for the wall, and in fact, yanking the aid could backfire entirely.
BBC – It’s not every day you see a Mariachi band dressed in full regalia at an Alpine ski lodge. But Mexico Night at Davos is no ordinary event. An evening of tapas and tequila – this annual affair is organised by the government’s international trade body, ProMexico, to promote the country’s business interests at the World Economic Forum, and schmooze potential investors to the sound of “Besame Mucho”.
Reuters – Mexico said it will offer holders of undeclared capital abroad tax incentives to bring it home in a bid to lure some $10 billion in investment and steel itself against potential shocks from the incoming Trump administration. The government said it will offer an 8 percent repatriation tax on those funds returning to Mexico in six months, provided they go into investments including fixed assets and property for at least two years.
Financial Times – The price of tortillas, Mexico’s staple food, flummoxed Enrique Peña Nieto when he was asked by an interviewer in the run-up to the 2012 elections and did not know. Now the president’s most pressing task is to make sure the cost of tortillas and other basic goods does not go through the roof.
Reuters – Mexico’s December annual inflation rose at the fastest pace in two years boosting chances the central bank will raise interest rates again at a time when prices are expected to be further fanned by a hike in fuel costs.
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.