Headlines from Mexico

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1. Manuel Barreiro Castañeda, an entrepreneur linked to presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, is under investigation for money laundering. Barreiro Castañeda was involved in a real-estate transaction that sold one of Anaya’s properties. On Wednesday, the Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR) confirmed it received a complaint in October 2017. A federal judge prohibited the PGR from issuing an arrest warrant for Barreiro Castañeda until the investigation concludes.

Read more: Reforma, Excelsior, El Universal, Milenio

2. The National Electoral Institute (INE) has announced a solution that fast tracks the vote counting process. The Institute proposes to use an operations sheet (hoja de operaciones) that will record the following information for each precinct: election results, null votes, unused ballots, incidents, and any other relevant information. INE envisions that the fast-track vote will allow the Institute to predict a winner in the presidential race the same day of the election.

Read more: El Universal, Jornada, Excelsior, Milenio

3. The Energy Regulation Committee (CRE) observed uncompetitive practices from liquefied petroleum gas companies, and reported this to the Federal Comission on Economic Competitiveness (Cofece). The Cofece is now conducting an investigation, which has rendered “strong indication” of firm collusion to limit LPG supply, and in turn, manipulating prices.

Read more: El Economista, Expansion, Proceso, Excelsior

4. Three Italian men were detained by the local police in Tecatitlán, Jalisco on January 31, and were never heard from again. There is an ongoing search to find them, with the Tecatilán police as the main suspect.

Read more: El Financiero, Milenio, El Universal, Excelsior

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Mexican oil shake-up likely if frontrunner wins presidency, says adviser

02/22/2018 Reuters

energy - oil barrelsMexico’s presidential frontrunner is not opposed to foreign investment in the country’s oil, his top energy adviser said, but his government would make dramatic changes to energy strategy, including a new focus on refining rather than crude exports.

In perhaps the most significant change envisioned by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the favorite to win the July 1 election, Mexico would seek to end decades of exporting crude in three years, a lawmaker who Lopez Obrador has tapped to be his future energy minister said in an interview.

Instead, Mexico should turn its focus to value-added fuels, processing crude domestically to produce more gasoline and diesel at refineries owned by state oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL], Rocio Nahle told Reuters late on Wednesday.

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Mexico supreme court says competitors can use America Movil’s network

02/22/2018 Reuters

The America Movil logo is seen at the reception area in the company's offices in Mexico City
The America Movil logo is seen on the wall of the reception area in the company’s corporate offices in Mexico City August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Mexican mogul Carlos Slim’s America Movil must allow competitors to use its network and infrastructure, essentially holding up aspects of the 2014 telecoms reform.

The court said the obligation imposed by the reform on America Movil, Mexico’s largest telecommunications firm, to lend interconnection services to competitors does not violate its rights.

“Because the constitutional decree itself recognized that there are certain obligations that are imposed on the preponderant economic agent, which will expire once there are conditions of real competition in the market,” it said.

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Mexico’s Televisa to create content for Amazon Prime

02/22/2018 Reuters

televisaMexican broadcaster Televisa said on Thursday that it plans to start producing original content to be distributed on Amazon.com Inc’s platform, underscoring streaming services’ increasing efforts to woo Latin American audiences.

Televisa, the largest producer of Spanish-language TV content, said it has struck a multiseries agreement to create “premium programming with an emphasis on multicultural characters” for Amazon Prime Video, an on-demand video streaming service available in more than 200 countries and territories.

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With Elections to Win, One Nafta Team May Prefer to Keep Talking

02/23/2018 Bloomberg

guerrero electionFew people are cheering the prospect of several more months of Nafta talks. Mexico’s ruling party may be among that small group.

The country is cranking into campaign mode at the same time as it prepares to host the latest round of trade wrangling next week. That means Mexican negotiators have a kind of dual mandate. They have to pursue the best outcome for the nation, while keeping one eye out for their bosses in the governing PRI, which is seeking to hang on to the presidency in July’s election.

And analysts say the party’s interests won’t be best served by a Nafta deal before the vote. Renegotiation was a U.S. idea in the first place, and President Donald Trump has framed the process as a zero-sum game. Anything he’s OK with is likely to be presented as a defeat for the others.

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Mexico’s Pro-Business Candidate Wants to Double Minimum Wage

02/22/2018 Bloomberg

anayaPresidential candidate Ricardo Anaya is pledging to more than double Mexico’s minimum wage as he looks to extend a rally in his support that’s put him within striking distance of the leftist front-runner in this year’s election.

Hailing from the business-friendly National Action Party, Anaya appears willing to defy his conservative supporters to raise one of Latin America’s lowest minimum wages. Anaya is even willing to make Mexico one of the first countries to introduce a universal basic income, said Salomon Chertorivski, his economic adviser and platform coordinator.

Minimum wage “should aspire to reach the poverty line within Ricardo Anaya’s six-year term which today is about 190 pesos per day for an adult and one dependent,” said Chertorivski, who spoke from his new office in Mexico City.

 

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EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico peso firms on rate hike bets, weaker U.S. dollar

02/22/2018 Reuters

peso by Guanatos GwynLatin American currencies gained on Thursday as the U.S. dollar’s rally from a three-year low last week ran out of steam, with the Mexican peso strengthening more than 1 percent on strong bets Mexico’s central bank could again hike interest rates.

Minutes of the latest monetary policy meeting showed
Mexico’s central bank board members are concerned about
persistent inflation pressures and risks that the local currency
could be hammered, adding to consumer price pressures.

Mexico’s peso strengthened 1.15 percent on Thursday
even as consumer prices in Latin America’s second largest
economy rose less than expected in early February.
“The probability that Banco de Mexico keeps hiking the key
interest rate is still high,” said Gabriela Siller, head of
economic analysis at Banco BASE.

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