The Mexican economy might have avoided falling into recession when it bounced back in the third quarter, growing slightly more than expected.
Yet, so far, there are no signs of a real improvement.
On Monday Mexico’s Auto Industry Association reported that the country’s light vehicle exports, which had been growing in low double-digit numbers, had returned to the sluggish performance of the second quarter. Continue reading »
For much of their history, the economies of Latin America have been isolated not only from the rest of the world but also form each other. Over the past quarter century, this has changed and the region now has the opportunity to embark on a virtual circle of development. But to realise this potential, governments must still deal with daunting challenges, writes Juan Carlos Echeverry of the Inter-American Development Bank. Continue reading »
When it comes to energy in Latin America, all eyes have been on Mexico’s plans to open its oil industry to private investment. But Peruvian officials stole some of that thunder at the weekend by saying the government planned to sell up to 49 per cent of state-run PetroPeru. Continue reading »
President Nicolás Maduro is a fraud, his government is incompetent and corrupt, most ministers should be sacked, the ruling Socialist Party’s ideological discourse is sterile, the national “Bolivarian” project is on a suicide path, and there is a growing risk of a coup from within the administration.
But don’t believe the FT on any of this. These are the words of Heinz Dieterich, a Marxist professor and former mentor of Hugo Chávez, writing in the leftist website Aporrea. Having cleared our throats before Sunday’s municipal elections, what actually is at stake at the vote — in concrete terms? Continue reading »
An IMF research paper shows how rare Latin American financial crises have been since 1998, when the world was rocked by EM currency crises. We’ve graphed the findings below.
Carlos Vegh and Guillermo Vuletin, the authors, think the continent has learnt from 1998. Successful countries like Brazil, Peru and Chile have stimulated their economies when GDP dipped; before 1998, they were less keen to do so. Continue reading »
Heineken, which bills itself as “the world’s most international brewer”, is stepping up its drive into the premium beer market in Mexico. It’s going to be tough, for two reasons.
First, beer is ubiquitous in Mexico – and very, very cheap (a bottle of beer is not far off the price of a bottle of water). So persuading consumers to switch from their cheap lager of choice to a premium brand, at higher cost, sounds like a tough sell. (To put that into perspective – premium brand beers only account less than 5 per cent of Mexico’s $7.5bn beer market, Heineken says.)
The second hurdle is competition: Heineken, which bought Mexico’s No. 2 brewer Femsa Cerveza in 2010 (and has a stable that also includes Tecate, Dos Equis, Sol, Bohemia and Indio), is up against the larger Modelo brewery (maker of Corona and Estrella beer), which was taken over this year by Belgium’s AB InBev and has 58 per cent of the market to Heineken’s 41 per cent.
Continue reading »
The surprising thing about Brazilian banking giant Itaú’s decision to open up investment banking operations in Mexico is, perhaps, that it hasn’t done so already.
Mexico is, after all, the region’s second-largest economy, and it is having an electric year on financial markets as well as being in the throes of some serious structural reforms designed to pull in billions of dollars in investment, especially in the energy sector.
Itaú BBA, the bank’s corporate investment banking arm, expects to open up shop in January under the stewardship of Alberto Mulas, an investment banking specialist with experience in the corporate world and in government. Continue reading »
When the oppressive heat in Buenos Aires becomes just too much to bear at the height of the austral summer, those who can afford it prefer to jet off to cooler climes to see in the New Year.
But some may have been forced to rethink their holiday plans after the Argentine government moved to stem an alarming decline of foreign currency reserves by bumping up the price at which it sells dollars to Argentines travelling abroad, in what amounts to a stealth devaluation. Continue reading »
Tuesday’s release of Brazil’s latest GDP figures was bad enough on its own: third quarter growth came in much lower than expected, delivering the worst quarter for five years. But it contained an added element of badness for Guido Mantega, finance minister, who has reportedly had his ear burnt by his famously straight-talking boss, president Dilma Rousseff.
Why? Mantega’s ministry told Dilma’s office last week that GDP growth in full year 2012, previously reported at a measly 0.9 per cent, would be revised upwards to a more respectable 1.5 per cent – something Dilma made much of. And then Tuesday’s figures spoiled it all. Continue reading »
Brazil and Turkey, long the laggards of the OECD’s triennial Pisa student tests, still lag behind the rich countries of the world when it comes to education.
But look at the improvement in the results over the past decade and a different picture emerges. In a trend that is almost unnoticed amid all the carping at poor standards, the young in both countries are much brighter and much cannier in maths, science and reading. Continue reading »
As beyondbrics was landing on Monday evening, Venezuela’s capital gave it a warm welcome: a massive blackout. A big chunk of the country was without power, including much of Caracas.
Roving the streets of one of the world’s most dangerous cities in complete darkness was quite an experience – even for your correspondent’s seasoned driver, desperately calling family and friends to check if they were doing fine. Continue reading »
Education was one of the reforms pushed through by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president, this year. Good job too, if the latest OECD statistics are anything to go by.
The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, scores – which measure performance in literacy, maths and science every three years – make for depressing reading. Particularly if you compare performance with China – Mexico’s great manufacturing competitor. Continue reading »
Is there no end to the gloom surrounding Brazil?
The government statistics agency said on Tuesday that GDP had contracted by a seasonally-adjusted 0.5 per cent in the third quarter from the second quarter, more than the 0.3 per cent contraction predicted by a Bloomberg survey of 38 economists. Continue reading »
With very little to brag about so far in economic terms, the one-year-old government of Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico, is betting on a banner year in 2014.
Having learnt a tough lesson on the crucial role that government spending, particularly on infrastructure projects, plays in Mexico’s economic performance, the government is not just trying to avoid this year’s budget delays — it is already moving on with assigning projects that are scheduled to start in 2014.
At least it is doing so with Tuesday’s planned announcement of 15bn pesos (US$1.15bn) worth of public work projects it plans to assign through public bidding processes.
As a result, the authorities are hoping that by announcing these new projects as early as Tuesday, they’ll be ready to allocate them in the first weeks of January so that the winners can start their construction by late next month or early February.
Continue reading »