Mexico steps up austerity plans in 2017 budget

09/09/16 Financial Times 

16420985927_db14e9dfc7_oJosé Antonio Meade, Mexico’s new finance minister, has ramped up the country’s two-year-old austerity drive in his 2017 budget, pledging spending cuts and a return to a primary surplus for the first time since 2008.

The 2017 cuts add up to almost 240bn pesos ($12.9bn), well above the 169bn pesos in belt-tightening already announced for this year, and cuts of 124bn pesos last year.

Read more…

The weirdest number in the latest CNN poll on Trump’s immigration policies

09/07/2016 The Washington Post

immigrationDonald Trump’s immigration policies were a hit in the primary season — but as many expected, they’re broadly and almost uniformly unpopular with general election voters. The latest evidence: the new CNN poll.

  • While Trump favors an enforcement-first approach, Americans prefer by a 51-to-36 margin to first deal with the illegal immigrants already in this country.
  • Just 30 percent say the government should deport all immigrants living illegally in the country.
  • Americans oppose Trump’s border wall, 58 percent to 41 percent.
  • About three-quarters (74 percent) doubt that Trump can actually get Mexico to pay for the wall along the southern border, despite his regular assurances that it would.
  • Previous polling has shown clear opposition to Trump’s plan to ban Muslim immigration.

And despite it all, the very same CNN poll shows that the immigration issue is basically a wash. While 49 percent say Hillary Clinton would make a better president on immigration, 47 percent prefer Trump.

Read more…

Helicopter Shoot-Down Could Signal Resurgence of Mexico Cartel

09/07/16 InSight Crime

The recent downing of a government helicopter in Michoacán, Mexico could signal the re-emergence of what was once one of the country’s most powerful criminal groups.

A helicopter belonging to the state government of Michoacán was shot down on September 6, killing the pilot and three police officers. According to local media reports and social media posts by Michoacán Gov. Silvano Aureoles, the aircraft was participating in an operation aimed at capturing members of the Knights Templar crime group.

Read more…

Videgaray to step down as Mexico’s finance minister – local press

09/07/16 Financial Times

luis videgarayLuis Videgaray will step down as Mexico’s finance minister, local media reported on Wednesday.

Mr Videgaray, one of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s closest allies and the architect of his structural reform programme, has been in the firing line after last week’s disastrous meeting between the president and Republican US candidate Donald Trump, which was reportedly his idea and which he has defended to the hilt, writes Jude Webber.

Read more…

Jorge Ramos: Mexico’s Shrinking President

09/06/16 Fusion

Jorge Ramos.jpgWhat was Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto thinking when he invited Donald Trump to Mexico City? He was thinking that he could outsmart Trump, of course. But as everyone saw, Peña Nieto had underestimated his opponent.

Last week’s episode will be remembered as one of the lowest points in Peña Nieto’s presidency — and that’s saying a lot, given the scandals that have enveloped his administration in recent years. Among them: the still-unresolved case of the missing college students in Ayotzinapa, the violent teachers’ strike in Nochixtlán, the “Mexican White House” scandal, and the recent allegations involving the first lady’s condo in Florida and the potential government contractor who paid property taxes for the condo.
Read more…

Shell becomes first oil company to join Mexico’s hedging program: Bloomberg

09/01/16 Reuters

shell by Azfar Hakim
Photo by Flickr user Azfar Hakim

Royal Dutch Shell Plc participated in Mexico’s oil hedging program for 2017, the first time an oil company has taken part in the world’s large commodities hedging program, according to Bloomberg, citing four people with knowledge of the matter.

Shell’s trading unit was one of the seven counterparties to the Mexican government, the report said, adding that their involvement is the first known participation since Mexico started to lock in prices regularly 15 years ago.

Read more…

Trump visits Mexico, brings home xenophobic tirade for his base

09/01/16 CNN

17190003726_efac0b42e2_o.jpgThe red-meat speech on immigration would come soon enough. But first…Donald Trump flew earlier in the day Wednesday into Mexico, bringing his own version of magical realism. He landed at Los Pinos–the Mexican White House.

Trump, the surreal aggressor, voluntarily helicoptered into enemy territory to face an unknown outcome.

Two embattled men facing abysmal approval ratings looked to each other for salvation. The Mexican President, who had nothing to lose, suddenly found himself as the unexpected power broker/mediator to the world’s most unruly potential head of state.