December 5, 2013
The Economist 12/5/2013
Mexico’s legislative blitzkrieg has stepped up a gear. On December 5th the Senate will at last start formally discussing energy reform, which is supposed to be the crowning achievement of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s first year in office. That is the day after both upper and lower houses approved an electoral reform bill that overturns a century-old ban on the re-election of politicians. It has, however, been done in such haste that José Woldenberg, an elections expert, writes in Reforma today of a “sea of imprecisions”.
Speed is the order of the day. To meet the December 15th deadline when Congress shuts for Christmas, senators are working like Santa’s elves: so late into the night that it is hard to contact them by day to discuss what they approved. The initial impression, however, is that the electoral reform, cobbled together by Mr Peña’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the conservative National Action Party (PAN), has good intentions, but is a bit slipshod. It looks like Congress decided that a fast-tracked electoral bill was a price worth paying for a bold energy reform.
December 5, 2013
The Washington Post, 12/5/2013
The day after a load of stolen radioactive material was found in a field, Mexican authorities had formed a perimeter around the area and were measuring for contamination as they planned the recovery process Thursday, according to Mexican news reports.
Federal police and soldiers formed a cordon of several hundred yards around the highly radioactive container of cobalt-60, stolen earlier in the week in a carjacking as the material was being moved from a public hospital n the border town of Tijuana to a storage facility in central Mexico, news reports said.
December 5, 2013
The New York Times, 12/4/2013
The theft of a truck carrying radioactive material, the kind used in hospitals but also potentially as a dirty bomb, unnerved Mexico and set off a two-day hunt before both the vehicle and its potentially lethal contents were found Wednesday at nightfall.
The truck had been transporting the material, cobalt 60, from an obsolete radiotherapy machine at a public hospital in Tijuana to a storage repository in central Mexico. It was in a sealed container on the bed of the truck when armed men hijacked it at a gas station on Monday.
December 3, 2013
The Financial Times, 12/3/2013
Shielded by three-metre-high security barricades, Mexico’s Senate is expected to sign off on energy reform plans this week, paving the way for a profound shake-up of the sector to be passed into law before December 15, a senior legislator said.
The legislation is the climax of an ambitious roster of reforms championed by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president, designed to attract billions of investment dollars and fuel economic growth, and requires the rewriting of parts of the constitution to open up a sector that has been shackled to the state for 75 years.
November 26, 2013
The Financial Times, 11/25/2013
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 skepticism, 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.
November 26, 2013
Fox News Latino, 11/25/2013
Tucked into a protected bay on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Acapulco has in recent years become the poster child for how the country’s vicious drug war has turned a once idyllic tourist destination into a killing field.
Headless bodies, gang rapes of tourists and hours-long shootouts have driven even the hardiest of visitors away from the city’s famed beaches and high-rise hotels. Foreign visitors flying in have decreased from over 350,000 in 2006 to fewer than 61,000 in 2012 and the once popular spring break destination saw the number of U.S. college students visiting drop by 92 percent in the last three years.
While Acapulco – and border cities like Ciudad Juárez and Reynosa – have dominated the headlines for the gruesome drug violence, much of Mexico’s 761,606 square miles remain relatively safe for both tourists and business interests. Analysts and travel experts tend to agree that Mexico is both as dangerous and as safe as it ever has been; it just depends on where one travels.
November 21, 2013
The Economist, 11/21/2013
A year ago Enrique Peña Nieto became Mexico’s president, promising a series of reforms aimed at raising the country’s unimpressive economic growth. To overcome a dozen years of legislative gridlock, he struck a “Pact for Mexico” with the opposition. All this sparked enthusiasm in the markets and led to talk of a “Mexican moment”.
In his first year, Mr Peña has done much of what he promised (see article). He has weakened the teachers’ union, which was resisting his education reforms, by arresting its leader on suspicion of embezzlement. He has created an autonomous trustbuster to challenge the dominance of Telmex, controlled by Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, and Televisa, a big television company. A banking reform should make lending easier in a country where credit as a proportion of GDP stands at little over half the Latin American average.
But Mr Peña has had to trim. In particular, he dropped his plan for a thorough overhaul of the tax system. Instead, his finance minister cobbled together, with the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the leftist opposition, an ill-thought-out ragbag of tax rises that has infuriated the private sector. That matters, since the economy is languishing.
Mr Peña now has a golden opportunity to redeem himself and to revive the private sector’s spirits. The most urgently needed reform is of the energy sector.
November 21, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 11/21/2013
Even though Latin America has been a laggard among developing markets this year, some advisers are convinced the resource-rich region is poised for a turnaround.
But instead of investing once again in Brazil–the 800-pound gorilla in the group–contrarian portfolio managers are finding smaller markets in Mexico and Chile as better bets to tap into Latin America’s long-term growth.
November 18, 2013
The Economist, 11/15/2013
Mexico, it seems, is an automotive backwater. The country’s consumers are expected to buy barely 1.06m cars and light trucks this year—down nearly 10% from the already weak 1.15m in 2005. Put another way, this is barely one new vehicle for every 150 Mexican residents, compared to more than one for every 20 citizens in America.
So why did Nissan, the Japanese carmaker, this week open a new $2 billion assembly complex in the city of Aguascalientes? And why are manufacturers such as Mazda, Honda and Audi racing to set up factories in Mexico, while General Motors, which already has operations in the country, is set to invest another $700m?
November 15, 2013
The 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…
There were several news articles focusing on the Mexican economy this week. Reuters highlighted that Nissan Motor LTD is projecting to build 1 million cars in Mexico by 2016, which will help the Country position itself as the export hub in the Americas. The Chicago Tribune noted that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took his first international trip to Mexico City to sign an agreement that commits the two cities to work together to build up exports, foreign investment, a skilled workforce and research endeavors. According to the article, Mexico City is the Chicago metro area’s second largest North American trade partner, after Toronto. The Wall Street Journal noted that the Mexican Congress has approved a fiscal deficit for next year equivalent to 3.5% of gross domestic product. With the additional spending, the government is trying to jump-start the economy and avoid another year of very low growth. Finally, Al Jazeera America published a piece stating that, despite claims of a growing middle class and increased jobs, poverty in Mexico is rising and the poor “don’t see any difference”.
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