Mexico economy

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 »

Mexican reforms have started to make themselves felt – though not in the way consumers would like.

Stoked in part by a new soda tax, a hike in VAT in border areas, and a reduction of fuel subsidies, Mexican inflation has hit an eight-month highContinue reading »

Mexico’s auto exports are roaring: new data from the Mexican Auto Industry Association showed record-breaking figures for the fourth straight year, and domestic sales at their highest level since 2007.

Mexico is now undoubtedly a world car production power and has seen a surge in investmentMazda, the Japanese carmaker, has just opened a new plant. Mind you, some commentators, like Carlos Mota writing in El Financiero, believe Mexico needs to build a national auto brand – a Mexican Tata or Daewoo, say – to really become a global force. Continue reading »

Mexico is certainly ending 2013 on a high note. Enrique Peña Nieto, the president, signed the country’s landmark energy reform into law on Friday, the day after rating agency Standard & Poor’s upgraded its debt and as unemployment data showed the jobless rate at a five-year low. Champagne, anyone? 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 »

Mexico may be all the rage among investors. But praise the country in polite Mexican society and you risk running a gauntlet of abuse. John Authers, the FT’s investment columnist and a former Mexico bureau chief, describes the situation very well.

Certainly, President Pena Nieto’s reform agenda gets high marks for concept but low marks for delivery. Of his four biggest initiatives, the detail of telecom reform is still being worked out; ditto education; the fiscal reform was disappointing; and we don’t yet know the full shape of the energy reform. No wonder the understandable scepticism, then, of much local conversation – even if the intensity of that conversation has meant missing another problem that has not won the discussion it deserves. Continue reading »

Here is a reminder, if any were needed, of how economists and investors have turned sour on Latin America during the course of this year.

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How ironic. Just after Mexico’s annual three-day bargain weekend known as the “buen fin” racked up sales of 160bn pesos ($12m) , retail sales data for September was published – and they were terrible.

The 4 per cent drop in retail sales in September (and a 0.4 per cent month-on-month fall) comes just as the economy was showing tentative green shoots after a year in which growth is now expected to struggle to top 1 per cent – less than a third of the government’s heady early predictions. Continue reading »

Capital Economics reckons the worst of Mexico’s annus horribilis is behind it. Share the optimism?

Let’s see: in terms of economic data this week, industrial production fell by 1.6 per cent (way higher than the 0.4 per cent market consensus) in September. That was dragged down by construction, which crashed 8.3 per cent, its 13th successive monthly fall, but manufacturing was anaemic too. Continue reading »

Mexico is slowing – so says the central bank on Wednesday, cutting growth forecast to 0.9 – 1.4 per cent, down from its previous estimate of 2-3 per cent – Banxico’s second consecutive quarterly cut (you can read the story here on Fast FT).

But Mexican car production and exports are revving up, hitting record levels in October. Not bad for an economy where manufacturing confidence is still in the doldrums. Continue reading »