Mexican former state governor to be tried for organized crime

7/23/2017 Reuters

A former state governor from Mexico’s ruling party will stand trial for engaging in organized crime and handling funds of illicit origin after a judge reviewing evidence approved the case, the attorney general’s office said on Saturday.

Javier Duarte, who until 2016 governed the Gulf coast state of Veracruz for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has been accused by the opposition of siphoning off millions of dollars during his six-year tenure.

On Monday, Duarte was extradited to Mexico from Guatemala, where he was captured in April after spending months on the run. He has denied any wrongdoing. Some doubts had surfaced in the past few days about the strength of the case against him.

However, after presenting 82 pieces of evidence in hearings on Saturday, the attorney general’s office said in a statement that the judge gave prosecutors six months to proceed with the investigation against 43-year-old Duarte.

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Mexico inflation eases less than expected in early July

7/24/2017 Reuters

carstensMexico’s annual inflation rate eased less than expected in the first half of July, data showed on Monday, but still lent weight to the central bank’s view that price pressures in Latin America’s second biggest economy may be peaking.

Annual inflation slowed to 6.28 percent from 6.33 percent in the second half of June, figures from the national statistics institute INEGI showed. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a rate of 6.23 percent.

Consumer prices rose 0.24 percent during the first half of July compared with the previous two-week period, slightly above the poll forecast for an increase of 0.19 percent.

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Mexico oil rush attracts varied group of buyers

7/23/2017 Financial Times

Oil barrelsMexico’s oil sector has just become exotic.

From the president of Spanish football club, Real Madrid, to telecoms mogul, Carlos Slim, and companies called Jaguar Exploration and Sun God Resources, new buyers are piling into the country’s industry that for decades had been the undisputed territory of state oil group, Pemex. This month brought a particularly dramatic oilfield auction, with such intense competition that multimillion-dollar cash bonuses were needed to break eight tied bids, at times eliciting gasps from the audience because of their size.

The tenders came hot on the heels of a discovery that confirmed Mexico as containing world-class assets — a consortium including Talos Energy of the US, Mexico’s Sierra Oil & Gas and Premier Oil of the UK, announced the world’s fifth-biggest oil strike in the past five years, with as much as 2bn barrels of oil. The group has been exploring one of the only two blocks awarded in Mexico’s first tender, in July 2015.

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Mexico ruling party well behind upstart leftist in voter poll

7/23/2017 Reuters

AMLOMexico’s ruling party is running in third place with less than a year to go before the next presidential election, well behind the new party of leftist hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.

Excluding undecided voters, support for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) stood at 17 percent, 11 percentage points behind the top choice, Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), with 28 percent, the poll by newspaper Reforma showed.

The second most popular option with 23 percent support was the center-right opposition National Action Party, or PAN, which held the presidency between 2000 and 2012.

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Mexico’s Pemex concludes $5 billion bond deal to aid finances

7/23/2017 Reuters

pemexMexico’s Pemex reopened two long-term bonds to raise some $5 billion on international markets, using some of the proceeds to repurchase debt expiring over the next two years, the state-run oil company said on Sunday.

In a statement, Pemex said it had registered demand worth close to $15 billion in placing the $5 billion via banks BBVA Bancomer, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase and Santander. Most of the investors came from the United States and Europe, it added.

The bonds reopened fall due in 10 and 30 years, and will pay a return of 5.75 percent and 6.90 percent, respectively, at maturity, added Pemex, which has been battling with heavy debts and now faces increased competition from private firms.

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Headlines from Mexico

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1. Former state governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, arrived in Mexico this week after being extradited from Guatemala. Duarte is facing charges of embezzlement and organized crime. He was arrested on April 15 in Guatemala after having been on the run for over 5 months. He is currently being held in the Northern Prison (Reclusorio Norte) until his next hearing.

Read more: Reforma, El Universal, Excelsior, La Jornada

2. Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) announced that the unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been in 11 years at 3.3% in June. Previously, the lowest rate was at 3.2% in February 2016. The rate is also 0.7% lower than it was in June of last year.

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

3. On Thursday, a patrol of marines in Tláhuac, the southeastern part of Mexico City, were attacked by members of an organization that is believed to control groups of drug dealers in that area. Amongst the eight dead suspected gang members was its leader, Felipe de Jesus Luna, “El Ojos”. His death led to violent reactions, and at least 23 people were arrested for acts of violence, including setting 3 vehicles on fire.

Read more:  El UniversalEl Economista, Reforma, Milenio, La Jornada

4. The Mexican economy ministry informed this week that the first round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation will take place from August 16th to the 20th. They expressed optimism in completing the renegotiation process by January 2018, and before the presidential election campaign season.

Read more: ReformaEl Economista, Milenio, La Jornada

Canada, Mexico urge quick NAFTA talks to end uncertainty

07/20/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoWASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Top Canadian and Mexican diplomats expressed optimism on Thursday that a NAFTA deal could be reached early next year and cautioned that widespread uncertainty over the future of the three-way trade agreement had slowed business investment.

Mexican sources say the plan is to hold seven rounds of talks at three-week intervals, a schedule that trade experts warned was aggressive and not easily attainable.

Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Geronimo Gutierrez, said his country wanted to get the negotiations over before a presidential election campaign ramps up next year.

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