After president’s first year, Mexico still a mess by many measures

December 2, 2013

Los Angeles Times, 12/1/2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2To President Enrique Peña Nieto’s supporters, his first year in office has been a time of bold promises kept as he pursues an ambitious agenda of reforms designed, in the long term, to bring peace and economic growth to Mexico.

But in the short term, by many measures, his country remains a mess. Though he promised to focus on Mexico’s economic potential, Peña Nieto has presided over an economy that has hardly grown at all. Though he vowed to reduce the kind of violence that affects innocent citizens, his record has been mixed, with kidnappings and extortion rising nationwide even as the number of homicides drops.

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Pessimism plagues Mexico year after new leader arrives

December 2, 2013

USA Today, 12/1/2013

peña-nietoPeña Nieto arrived in office one year ago on Dec. 1, 2012, promising to calm the country and produce long-stalled structural reforms, which he said would allow Mexico to achieve 6% annual growth.

But Peña Nieto’s anniversary arrives amid a growing pessimism as the economy slumps, his agenda of structural reforms encounters resistance, and the security situation remains the same or worse in many places — prompting fed-up citizens in some areas to grab guns and organize vigilante groups.

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Mexico Sees Economic-Growth Boost From 2014 Budget

November 15, 2013

The Wall Street Journal, 11/14/2013

luis videgarayIn response to the economic slowdown this year, when gross domestic product is expected to grow just 1.2%, the Congress approved a fiscal deficit for next year equivalent to 3.5% of gross domestic product. This includes financed investment at state oil monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos for 2% of GDP. This year’s deficit is expected to be around 2.4% of GDP.

The infrastructure budget includes significant amounts for roads, ports, railways and water projects, as the government aims to give a boost to the struggling construction sector. Funds have also been earmarked for reconstruction, particularly in the southern state of Guerrero, which was hit hard by tropical storm Manuel in September.

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Latinos’ Role in Local Elections, Wave of Success for Mexican Filmmakers, and President Peña Nieto takes Boldest Security Step Yet– Weekly News Summary: November 8

November 8, 2013

coffee-by-flikr-user-samrevel1The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English language press had to say…

One of the main topics for this week’s news outlets was on the role Hispanics are playing in local elections. According to the New York Times, Republicans in Congress have seen two test cases for how the party should move on immigration. Exit polls showed that Gov. Chris Christie boosted to a blowout victory because he improved his standing among Latinos by 19 percentage points over his first run. In Virginia, it is estimated that Latinos accounted for 35,000 out of about 55,000 votes in Mr. McAuliffe’s slim margin victory. According to the Newspaper, House Republicans are becoming aware of the strategic importance of Latinos.

In a similar topic, Politico reported that the AFL-CIO is poised to launch a seven-figure television campaign assailing House Republicans for their inaction on immigration reform. These new commercials are aimed at raising the stakes for the whole Republican Party in the debate over immigration, said AFL-CIO strategist Tom Snyder.

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Mexico has scope for further fiscal reform -S&P

November 8, 2013

Reuters, 11/7/2013

luis videgarayMexico has room for further fiscal reform to improve its tax base because a bill passed by Congress last week still leaves it well behind countries with stronger revenues, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday. Mexico’s Congress approved a package of measures last week, including higher taxes for the rich and levies on junk food and stock market gains in a bid to increase the country’s paltry tax take, one of the weakest in the Americas.

Before the tax reform was presented in September, senior officials in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said the aim was to boost revenues by four percent of gross domestic product. But the bill that was eventually floated was less ambitious. And the reform approved is only expected to up the take by around 2.5 percent of GDP by 2018, the finance ministry said.

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A bottler of beloved Mexican Coke is considering shifting from cane sugar to save money

November 4, 2013

Quartz, 11/3/2013

piggy bank with coinsMexico’s new soft drink tax could push the nation’s Coca-Cola makers away from the cane sugar that’s made “Mexicoke” a cult hit in the US.

Executives from the second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola in Latin America suggested that a shift away from cane sugar might be in the cards as a result of the steep sales tax on soda Mexico’s congress approved on Thursday (Oct. 31). American Coke enthusiasts claim the Mexican version tastes better than what they get in the US, which some say is because Mexican Coca-Cola is made with cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup.

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Mining in Mexico: The sovereign take

November 4, 2013

The Economist, 11/2/2013

mineThe government needs to raise revenue in a country where tax avoidance is rife. The mining levy—a royalty of up to 7.5% on profits, plus 0.5% on revenue from precious metals—makes sense in principle. But it comes just when metal prices have swooned.

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