Surprise Mexican Energy Reform Winner Is Copper Miner

January 9, 2014

shutterstock_24590917Bloomberg, 01/08/2013

Grupo Mexico SAB (GMEXICOB) is set to benefit this year from an energy overhaul that will allow the country’s largest mining company to tap new opportunities in oil and gas.

Billionaire German Larrea’s holding company is seeking to expand operations after President Enrique Pena Nieto last month enacted a law that will allow foreign companies to produce crude for the first time since 1938. Grupo Mexico is looking into forming alliances and joint ventures for shale oil and gas projects, said Xavier Garcia de Quevedo, who heads the Mexico City-based group’s Southern Copper Minera Mexico unit.

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A few more pesos, a lot more stress

January 9, 2014

Photo by Flickr user Aleiex

The Economist, 01/04/2014

The Central de Abastos wholesale market is the largest of its kind in the world, sprawling over an area half the size of Mexico City’s airport. Yet on New Year’s Eve, it was still hard to move for the shoppers clogging up the 1-kilometre (1,100-yard) grocery aisle, buying everything from pig’s heads to sugar cane to grapes for that night’s festivities.

Outside, it was another story. People without enough money to shop were sifting through piles of discoloured and discarded avocados and tomatoes, wrapping what was still edible in scraps of newspaper and furtively carrying them off for their own more meagre supper.

For many of these Mexicans, life is getting harder. A fiscal reform that took effect on January 1st introduces a number of new taxes that are chiefly aimed at the rich but end up clobbering the poor. A value-added tax of 16% was slapped on various forms of public transport. In Mexico City the underground “metro” fare had already gone up before Christmas, a 66% increase from 3 pesos (23 cents) to 5 pesos. As part of a government drive to fight obesity (see article) the new levies also include a tax of 1 peso per litre on soft drinks and an 8% levy on some particularly calorific foods.

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Country of the Year? Try Mexico

December 16, 2013

Christian Science Monitor, 12/15/2013

Mexican Flag XXLLast week’s approval of reforms for the pivotal oil company Pemex caps a year of major reforms that could transform Mexico – and perhaps change the immigration debate in the US.

If an award could be given in 2013 for Country of the Year, Mexico might deserve it. No other country has done more this past year to put reforms in place to transform a nation – and with startling democratic consensus. The latest reform, approved Thursday by elected lawmakers, will allow foreign and private investment in the oil sector for the first time in more than 70 years. The move upends a notion of Mexican patriotism that stated the national identity rests on government monopoly of the petroleum industry.

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Big Oil to Get Brazil-Like Terms in Plan to End Mexico Monopoly

December 4, 2013

Bloomberg, 12/3/2013

oil pipeline150Global oil majors from Exxon Mobil Corp. to Chevron Corp.  are about to get the clearest indication yet of how far Mexican lawmakers will go to lure them into the largest unexplored crude area after the Artic Circle.

Senate committees will begin debating a bill to end a seven-decade state oil monopoly as soon as today. On the agenda is a proposal by members of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the National Action Party, or PAN, to extend a profit-sharing model unveiled in August by also allowing production sharing or a license model used in Brazil, said two people with knowledge of the talks.

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Mexico Economic Bounce Aids Leader’s Overhaul Effort

November 22, 2013

The Wall Street Journal, 11/21/2013.

drawing bar chartThe struggling Mexican economy bounced back in the third quarter after a decline in the previous three months, taking some pressure off President Enrique Peña Nieto as he tries to improve the country’s competitiveness through ambitious overhauls.

The government’s statistics institute said economic output grew 0.8% seasonally adjusted from the second quarter, which translates into a 3.4% annualized growth rate.

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Op Ed: Mexico’s critical, fragile compromises

November 15, 2013

The Globe and Mail, 11/15/2013

MEXICO CONGRESSJust about everything except the mouths of politicians seems to the paralyzed in the U.S. political system, especially Congress. Getting one big thing done seems next to impossible.

In Canada, the government can get things through the Commons and Senate, courtesy of its majority in both houses. But negotiate with the opposition parties? Are you crazy?

In Mexico, by contrast, something remarkable and controversial is unfolding. In less than a year, President Enrique Pena Nieto and his party are negotiating with both other parties in Congress on an array of reforms that would leave the legislatures of Canada and the United States breathless.

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Mexico: Wake up to the emerging market next door

September 23, 2013

CNBC, 9/23/2013

drawing bar chartHave global investors been missing the emerging market right next door? Since a paper in 2001 focused investors’ attention on the BRICs—Brazil, Russia, India and China—those countries’ stock markets, averaged out, have risen about 400 percent. Meanwhile, the exchange of the emerging market at America’s doorstep has risen more than 650 percent. And in a time of dizzying capital flows in emerging markets—draining dry on expectations of the U.S. Fed tightening policy, then sloshing in again when Ben Bernanke on Wednesday unexpectedly kept the monetary fire hose blasting—Mexico looks rock solid by comparison.

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