Mexico economy

More glum news for Mexico’s economy, which has been growing at turtle speed this year. Growth in May came in below expectations – again.

According to the state statistics office, growth in May was a disappointing 1.4 per cent, below market forecasts for nearer 2 per cent. Continue reading »

Investment in Mexico: it’s the real thing. Coca-Cola’s announcement that it will pour $1bn into the country every year until 2020 is just the latest in a string of recent big-ticket spends in a country where manufacturing is leading the country out of an untimely economic slump.

The US beverage maker, whose operations in Mexico include eight bottling groups in Mexico, juices and dairy as well as sodas and water, said it would invest more than $8.4bn from 2014-2020, bringing the total invested in Mexico during the decade to $12.4bn. Continue reading »

Backed into a corner by tough new Mexican telecoms regulations, Carlos Slim’s América Móvil (AMX) has come out fighting.

Its plan to divest assets – probably unprofitable rural subscribers, as well as cellphone towers – is its opening gambit. Will it be enough?

The mettle of Mexico’s new independent telecoms regulator, the IFT, and its perpetually smiling president Gabriel Contreras, will now be put to the test.

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In the run-up to his election victory in 2012, Enrique Peña Nieto pledged to create a new 40,000-strong paramilitary gendarmerie for Mexico to help combat security problems stemming from the country’s war on drugs.

Plans for the force were whittled back to 10,000, and seemed to be eternally delayed. But next month Mexico’s new police force is finally ready for launch, albeit with a more slimmed-down starting line-up of 5,000 new officers. Continue reading »

Mexico’s historic energy reform has understandably whetted the appetites of oil companies worldwide. But, concerns are growing that Mexico’s tax terms might turn out a little too tough – potentially scaring off, rather than attracting, investors.

How so? Let’s recap: Mexico expects to offer a range of licences and profit – or production – sharing contracts to private investors in a tender next year, the terms of which may become known in late in 2014. Continue reading »

A glimmer of light at the end of a (long) tunnel? Mexico’s industrial production tip-toed up 0.6 per cent in April compared with March.

Now, it wasn’t a very big increase, but it was some welcome good news to an economy where the central bank, cutting interest rates in a shock move last week, cautioned that even the disappointing new expectations of growth for this year (the bank is predicting 2.2-3.3 per cent; the government 2.7) are unlikely to be met. Continue reading »

It’s a good job discipline is an integral part of the Mexican ruling party ethos.

Lawmakers of all shades will need it next month when it comes to debating legislation to implement Mexico’s keynote reform – opening up the energy sector after nearly eight decades under state control: key debates will clash with the World Cup – something opposition lawmakers fought hard to avoid. Continue reading »

So, Mexico, Aztec tiger, implementing far-sighted structural reforms that will ramp up economic growth, right?

Well, yes, but prepare to be patient. The central bank, Banxico, has just delivered a reality check: growth this year will be in the 2.3 to 3.3 per cent range, not the 3 to 4 per cent previously forecast. Continue reading »

Carlos Slim’s foray into Europe is not so much a case of “once bitten, twice shy” as “try, try and try again”. Having failed last year to buy Dutch telecoms operator KPN, the Mexican tycoon has launched a takeover bid for Telekom Austria. Total cost to Slim’s América Móvil? Not including its current 27 per cent stake, about €2.1bn.

That includes the €1.4bn cost of buying the 45 per cent of Telekom Austria that is publicly traded. In addition, there will be América Móvil’s pro-rated €700m share of a subsequent capital increase, which will help shrink Telekom Austria’s chunky leverage (the group has almost €5bn of debt). Continue reading »

Infonavit, the Mexican agency that is Latin America’s biggest mortgage lender, is catching the Fibra fever.

Fibras are the wildly-successful real estate investment trusts that powered some of Mexico’s record equity market activity last year. Infonavit, which takes a 5 per cent payroll tax from Mexican workers which they can use for mortgages, but is expanding its remit under a new can-do chief, Alejandro Murat, wants to get in on the action. Continue reading »

A cartoon in a Mexican newspaper last week said it all: there are Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, gazing wistfully at the forbidden fruit. But it’s not an apple. It’s a lime.

Just about everything to eat in Mexico gets served with a wedge of lime, but buying them lately has been tricky. At one recent Sunday market in Mexico City, stallholders rolled their eyes when asked for what is normally the most ubiquitous of fruit. “No, too expensive,” was the answer rolled out at stall after stall. Continue reading »

This was supposed to be the year when Mexican growth got better, after last year’s dismal 1.1 per cent. Yet economists at Banamex have chopped a half-point off their 2014 forecast. What’s going on?

Let’s blame it on the weather. Literally. Here’s Banamex:

The main factor behind this revision is the effect that the exceptionally adverse weather conditions will have on activity in the US.

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One step forward, one step . . . well, if not exactly backwards, sort of sideways?

Mexican inflation data for the first fortnight of February looked a lot brighter than a month ago, when the impact of new taxes, including on fizzy drinks and junk food, pushed consumer prices to an eight-month high. Continue reading »

The Mexican economy grew by 1.1 per cent in 2013, its slowest rate since the 2009 recession and well short of the 3.5 per cent that President Enrique Peña Nieto initially expected during his first year in office.

In the fourth quarter, GDP expanded 0.2 per cent seasonally adjusted, due to slower growth in industrial sectors. The pace of expansion was significantly below market expectations for 0.6 per cent growth, leading to concerns over the health of the North American economy. Barclays Capital said the weak growth was probably the result of slow US imports and a “still fragile domestic consumer”. Continue reading »

Enrique Peña Nieto

Enrique Peña Nieto

Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president, has another new strategy to combat crime in the volatile western state of Michoacán: throw money at it. Continue reading »