Mexico opposition targets governor’s race that would ‘prove president’s failure’

5/26/2017 The Guardian

obradorThe crowd cheers as a mariachi band belts out a song dedicated to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of Mexico’s National Regeneration party (Morena), while he poses for selfies with jostling supporters in front of the stage.

The gathering feels more like a party – complete with cake, flowers and the faint smell of alcohol and marijuana – rather than a midsize political rally on the home turf of President Enrique Peña Nieto and one of the most powerful factions of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The event is nominally in honour of Delfina Gómez, Morena’s candidate in the 4 June election for governor of the state of Mexico. But the race is one of the the country’s most important in political, economic and symbolic terms.

Which is why López Obrador – commonly known as AMLO – is the headline act on the campaign trail as his centre-left party bets on his firebrand charisma and popularity to rouse enough voters to pull off a historic victory and seal the fate of Peña Nieto’s disastrous presidency.

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Mexico urges wealthy nations to help poorer states cut disaster risk

5/25/2017 Reuters

1985_Mexico_Earthquake_-_Pina_Suarez_Apartment_ComplexCutting human, economic and infrastructure losses caused by disasters is imperative, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told the start of a U.N. conference, urging wealthy countries to help vulnerable nations limit their exposure to natural hazards.

Peña Nieto said on Wednesday that threats such as earthquakes and storms “recognize no national boundaries or frontiers or orders of government”.

Ninety percent of deaths from disasters happen in low- and middle-income countries, he noted at the opening of the three-day conference on disasters in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

“In the Caribbean, there are some economies and societies that are especially vulnerable in light of disaster situations that have been aggravated as a result of climate change,” he said, expressing a commitment to support neighboring Caribbean nations.

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Mexico readies FX, bond conduct rules in wake of price fixing probe

5/24/2017 Reuters

banco de mexicoMexico’s central bank is preparing to implement a new code of conduct governing foreign exchange and bond trading in the second half of the year, according to a copy of a presentation published Wednesday.

The announcement follows news last month of a probe by Mexico’s anti-trust agency into collusion by major banks to fix prices in central bank debt auctions.

Banco de Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens gave the presentation on Monday at a closed door meeting of the International Council of Securities Associations that was hosted by the Mexican Association of Securities Intermediaries (AMIB).

Carstens said Mexico’s central bank will only trade with banks that adhere to best practice forex rules, designed by the Bank for International Settlements’ Foreign Exchange Working Group that are due to be published on May 25, according to the presentation.

The central bank declined a request for further comment.

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Mexico’s ruling party battles leftist nemesis in key state vote

5/24/2017 Reuters

voting mexicoNine decades of rule by President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico’s most populous state are hanging in the balance in an election that could batter its hopes of keeping power nationally in 2018.

Polls show the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the new party of veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, could wrest control of the state of Mexico from the PRI by winning the governorship in the June 4 state election, a result that would ramp up the momentum for his bid to succeed Pena Nieto in 2018.

Headstrong and with more nationalist leanings than the centrist PRI, two-time presidential runner-up Lopez Obrador has led early opinion polls for next year’s contest.

Financial markets are closely watching Lopez Obrador’s progress. If he does win in 2018, it could stoke tensions with the United States after President Donald Trump’s populist broadsides against Mexico during his own election campaign.

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Trump proposes deep U.S. spending cuts in Mexico, Central America

5/23/2017 Reuters

5440388253_7a8e8c1584_bPresident Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed drastically slashing U.S. foreign aid spending in Mexico and Central America, which are struggling with drug violence, graft and poverty that prompts many from the troubled region to migrate north.

Trump’s austere 2018 budget proposal, which seeks to trim $3.6 trillion from government spending over the next decade and is unlikely to get legislative approval in its current form, envisages steep cuts in most federal departments, but particularly the State Department.

Ever since launching his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump has attacked Mexico, threatening to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, build a Mexico-funded southern border wall and ramp up deportations of those living without documents in the United States.

Tuesday’s proposal foresees 2018 Mexican aid of $87.66 million, down more than 45 percent from the 2016 outlay.

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Mexico’s oil regulator approves new Gulf area for Pemex

5/23/2017 Reuters

PemexMexico’s oil regulator on Tuesday approved a promising new deep water block to state oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL], but conditioned the allotment on the firm developing the area with a partner that would eventually operate it.

The new Chachiquin area, adjacent to Pemex’s Nobilis-Maximino block, could produce 80,000 barrels per day of oil once it reaches peak output, according to the regulator’s estimates.

Development of the area is not expected to begin until 2024 at the earliest.

“It’s incredibly important for the country to move forward with deep water projects,” said Hector Moriera, a commissioner with the regulator, known as the CNH, adding that 53 percent of Mexico’s prospective oil resources are in deep water deposits.

“That’s where much our country’s oil future lies,” he said.

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Mexico warns on NAFTA sourcing: ‘Don’t shoot ourselves in the foot’

5/23/2017 Reuters

27424865601_1ff00195fd_kMexico’s economy minister on Tuesday sounded a note of caution to the three countries involved in NAFTA trade negotiations, saying they should be careful not to adjust rules on local sourcing of parts too much, or risk driving business elsewhere.

Speaking at an event in Mexico City with Canada’s Minster of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Mexico was not opposed to revising so-called rules of origin – which stipulate that products must meet minimum NAFTA-wide content requirements to be tariff-free.

But he warned that Mexico, the United States and Canada could “shoot ourselves in the foot” if they tweak rules too much and drive investment elsewhere.

Under these rules, manufacturers must obtain a minimum percentage of components for their products from Canada, Mexico or the United States.

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