The cost of an unwanted guest

09/10/16 The Economist

6809783313_97b163bfee_oTO SAY things have been going badly for Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president, would be an understatement. Recent embarrassments include allegations that a Miami-based company paid property taxes for his wife, revelations that he plagiarised part of his university thesis and an ill-judged rendezvous with Donald Trump. On September 7th Mr Peña tried to put the unpleasantness behind him by accepting the resignation of the finance minister, Luis Videgaray, his most important deputy, who had hopes of becoming president in 2018.

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Mexico’s new finance minister spurns Donald Trump

09/08/16 Reuters

15851765709_8511a4809c_oMexico’s new finance minister on Thursday delivered a stern reproach to Donald Trump, saying the only thing he agreed on with the U.S. Republican presidential candidate was that his predecessor in the ministry was an excellent public servant.

The comments follow the resignation of Luis Videgaray as finance minister on Wednesday after he came under fire for Trump’s visit to Mexico City last week, which Mexican diplomats said he was instrumental in arranging.

Trump has infuriated Mexicans with a series of broadsides against the United States’ southern neighbor, and his hastily arranged visit to meet President Enrique Pena Nieto a week ago sparked heavy criticism of the government.

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Mexico’s Finance Minister Resigns Amid Fallout From Trump Visit

09/07/16 The New York Times 

9027767436_b8c5e3a13c_o.jpgMEXICO CITY — One of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s top ministers and closest allies resigned on Wednesday, an apparent casualty of Mr. Peña Nieto’s wildly unpopular meeting last week with Donald J. Trump.

The spectacle of the Mexican president standing next to the Republican candidate who has disparaged Mexicans prompted widespread dismay and anger here, and reportedly divided Mr. Peña Nieto’s cabinet.

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Mexico’s New Finance Minister Inherits Tight Budget Goals

09/07/16 The Wall Street Journal

15851765709_8511a4809c_o.jpgMEXICO CITY—On his first full day in office, Mexico’s new finance minister, José Antonio Meade, has the task of presenting Congress with a budget proposal for 2017 that will slash government spending to confront further declines in oil revenue and rein in growing public debt.

President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday named Mr. Meade, who had been finance minister under a previous administration, to replace Luis Videgaray who resigned in the wake of a political storm over the recent visit to Mexico of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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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.

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Mexico Economy Expanded 2.5% in Fourth Quarter on Consumption

2/23/16 Bloomberg

Mexico’s economy in the fourth quarter expanded in line with a preliminary report published last month as domestic consumption rebounded amid record-low inflation.

Gross domestic product rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier, according to final figures released by the national statistics institute Tuesday. From the previous quarter, GDP advanced 0.5 percent. Full year growth accelerated to 2.5 percent from 2.3 percent in 2014.

Mexicans had more money in their pockets last year after the inflation rate fell to the lowest in almost half a century. As a result, consumer spending remained resilient amid falling oil prices and stagnant manufacturing expansion in the U.S., the nation’s main trade partner. Mexico has been a bright spot for growth compared with much of Latin America, with GDP forecast to expand 2.6 percent this year, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg, compared with an estimate for a 0.6 percent contraction in the region.

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Mexico to Keep Credit Rating as Pemex’s Losses Mount, S&P Says

2/16/16 Bloomberg

pemex2Mexico’s efforts to reduce energy subsidies and broaden its tax base is helping to insulate its credit rating as state-controlled oil producer Petroleos Mexicanos confronts a plunge in crude prices, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The fiscal changes enacted in 2014 have helped cushion the blow from a drop in revenue from Pemex, which has accounted for about 20 percent of the national budget, according to Victor Herrera, the managing director for Latin America at S&P in Mexico City. He cited measures including the end of a gasoline subsidy and efforts to bring more workers into the formal economic system.

“We don’t see pressure now as the government has so far reacted to contain this blow,” Herrera said in a telephone interview. “Everyone was criticizing the fiscal reform a few years ago, but look at how it’s helped us cushion this drop.”

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