Mexico retail sales rise for second time in three months

6/23/2017 Reuters

Customer buys a television set during the shopping season, "El Buen Fin", at a Walmart store, in the early hours of Friday, in Monterrey
REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Mexican retail sales rose for the second time in three months in April, official data showed on Friday, pointing to continued support for Latin America’s second biggest economy from private consumption.

Retail sales climbed by 1.2 percent month on month in April when adjusted for seasonal swings, according to data from the national statistics office. Compared with the same month a year earlier, sales were up by 1.4 percent.

Private spending has been a pillar of support for the Mexican economy in recent months, and reports from the private sector suggest it is still holding up.

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Why Mexico is reliable for investors, despite Trump

6/19/2017 Forbes India 

trumpmexico_083116getty_0Among Mexicans, few get as much pleasure from US President Trump’s tough talk excoriating our southern neighbour as Gerardo Rodriguez, portfolio manager of BlackRock’s Total Emerging Markets Fund.

Since January, Total has been seriously overweighting Mexican bonds, and the president’s rhetoric and tweets about “bad hombres”, building walls and dealing NAFTA a death blow tend to send the peso falling. In January, during Trump’s first days in office, the peso’s exchange rate with the US dollar peaked at nearly 22, its weakest level in history.

For Rodriguez, that moment was somewhat like the S&P 500 low in March 2009, after the financial crisis. Rodriguez knew it was a great time to buy Mexico, and he instructed BlackRock traders to pile into peso-denominated bonds when most investors were running for cover. At the time, Mexican government bonds were yielding 7.8 percent, compared with 2.3 percent for ten-year US Treasurys. This move, plus a big allocation to beaten-down Asian stocks like Samsung and Ali­baba, has helped Total Emerging Markets achieve a 10.4 percent total return year to date and a 4.2 percent three-year average annual return, topping its category and earning it five stars among Morningstar-rated funds.

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Mexico to speed up extradition of Chilean wanted for Pinochet ally murder

6/15/2017 Reuters

luis videgarayMexico and Chile agreed on Thursday to speed up the extradition of Chilean citizen Raul Escobar Poblete, wanted in his home country for allegedly participating in the 1991 murder of senator Jaime Guzman, a close ally of late dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Escobar Poblete, then a member of the leftist paramilitary Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (FPMR), was arrested last week by Mexican police after being on the run from Chilean authorities for two decades.

“The Foreign Ministers of Mexico and Chile agreed to give the highest priority to the case of Raul Escobar Poblete, detained last week in Mexico, so that his extradition process will proceed in a speedy manner,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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Mexico City’s Mayor Calls For Carlos Slim, Other Mexican Billionaires To Influence NAFTA Talks

6/12/2017 Forbes 

miguel mancera
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

What role should Mexico’s billionaires play in the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the trade pact with Mexico and Canada that the Trump Administration has proposed be renegotiated?

Miguel Angel Mancera, Mexico City’s Mayor and a possible 2018 presidential contender, has called for the creation of a 12-member group of Mexico’s richest men to try to influence from the sidelines the remake of what Donald Trump has labeled “the worst trade deal” ever. Top on Mancera’s list is Carlos Slim Helú, México’s richest person.

“Slim told me that he was ready to participate, that he was interested,” Mancera told me last week when he visited Washington D.C. “I’m convinced we have to include this type of high level interlocutors and listen to their advice. Slim can call presidents, former presidents, top businessmen and politicians and they all take his call.”

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Mexico Ex-Governor’s Extradition Overshadows Other Important Cases

5/17/2017 InSight Crime

FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico
FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico May 23, 2005. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar/File Photo

The extradition to the United States of Tomás Yarrington, a former Mexico governor whose name has become synonymous with corruption and narco politics, could now be imminent. But other recent corruption cases involving powerful, though less high-profile, elites could send bigger shockwaves through Mexico’s institutions and criminal networks.

The United States formally submitted the documentation for Yarrington’s extradition on May 16 to Italian authorities, who arrested the former governor in Florence on April 9, Proceso reported.

The request came after some wrangling between the United States and Mexico about where Yarrington would face trial. But US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mexican Attorney General Raúl Cervantes agreed on April 19 to request that the “Italian Minister of Justice grant precedence to the United States’ [extradition] request,” according to a joint statement, leaving the charges in Mexico for another day.

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‘We are the market’: Tillerson faults US for evils of Mexico’s drug trade

5/18/2017 CNN

U.S. Department of State

If there was a single theme to emerge from today’s second go at joint Cabinet-level meetings with the Mexican government, it came across stunningly loud and clear: That the real heart of Mexico’s ongoing, bloody battle with hard drug production, organized crime and murder lies firmly in the United States.

“We Americans must own this problem. It is ours,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated bluntly during a news conference. America’s “pervasive demand” for illegal drugs was brought up repeatedly throughout the day, as if US officials could not strike the tone hard enough.
“We know what we own, and we as Americans must confront that we are the market. There is no other market for these activities. It is all coming here. But for us, Mexico wouldn’t have the trans-criminal organized crime problem and the violence that they’re suffering,” Tillerson said. “We really have to own up to that.”

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America and Mexico to Tackle Increasing Drug Violence

5/18/2017 The National Interest

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Public Policy Fellow, Mexico Institute

Flickr/William Munoz

Secretary of State Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly meet their Mexican counterparts on May 18 to discuss the fight against organized crime and drug smuggling. This is a positive sign in a relationship that has been shaken by U.S. criticisms this year. Both countries need good—and better—cooperation against drugs and cartels. The United States is suffering an epidemic of opioid overdoses fueled by the abuse of prescription drugs and heroin and synthetic opioids smuggled from Mexico. Mexico is suffering a surge in homicides fueled in part by the criminal gangs that feed U.S. drug demand and reap billions of dollars in profits.

Mexico and the United States have improved cooperation. However, that progress has not been sufficient to stem the smuggling of deadly drugs or the drug-related violence in Mexico. More progress will require higher levels of trust, commitment and investment by the two governments, and creative thinking to find better ways to address illegal drug use and flows.

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