The Wall Street Journal, 5/9/14
Mexico’s central bank said Friday an incipient economic recovery is under way, citing an improvement in exports and government spending, although many economists remain skeptical whether Latin America’s second-largest economy is clearly picking up after more than a year of anemic economic growth.
Most of the five-member board agreed that the economy started to improve at the end of the first quarter and that the recovery will continue in the coming months, the minutes of its most recent policy meeting showed.
The central bank’s comments come as most economists, and independent bodies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, have been lowering their growth forecasts for Mexico for this year. Some economists have been arguing that the Mexican economy has been in a recessive period over the last nine months, something the government denies.
Finance Minister Luis Videgaray has repeatedly said Mexico is growing and generating employment, although at a still unsatisfactory rate. The government, led by President Enrique Peña Nieto, is badly in need of results on the economic front: In its first year in office last year, the economy expanded 1.1%, much lower than the 3.5% growth initially expected. In the first two months of 2014, growth amounted to 1.4%.
The central bank appeared Friday to support the government’s view that the economy is picking up. It said auto industry exports, a main factor of the country’s export engine, rose in February. Most board members argued that private consumption likely improved gradually in the first quarter. Government spending is also seen gaining pace after last year’s delays.