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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Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto slumps in polls despite policy wins

Enrique Pena NietoThe Washington Post, 4/13/14

Plenty of world leaders would be thrilled to have the kind of executive hot streak blazed by Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto during his first 16 months in office. In that short span, he and his administration have steered more than a dozen major new laws through congress, overhauling the country’s energy, banking and education sectors, among others.

Peña Nieto has stood up to powerful interests from Mexico’s business world and underworld. He has locked up drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the world’s most wanted trafficker, quieting doubters in the United States who questioned his crime-fighting mettle. Yet for all the praise he has won in Washington and elsewhere in the world, Peña Nieto’s opening act is getting panned in the only place it really counts: Mexico.

After Time magazine put him on the cover of its international edition recently with the headline “Saving Mexico,” a flood of ridicule and derision followed. Peña Nieto’s approval ratings have fallen fairly steadily since he took office in December 2012, dropping to 37 percent inone recent poll, with other surveys rating him in the mid-40s.

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Pena sends Mexico’s diplomatic reply

canada mexicoThe Globe and Mail, 3/22/14

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has cancelled a trip to Canada in June to signal his country’s unhappiness with the Harper government’s refusal to talk about removing visas for Mexicans coming to Canada.

Mr. Pena had intended to come to Ottawa and attend the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary. There, he was going to talk about his government’s new policy of opening some of the government’s state-owned oil monopoly, Pemex, to foreign partnerships. But the President was apparently so disturbed by our position on visas for Mexicans that he has called off the trip, according to Canadian sources.

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Mexico’s President Unveils Telecom Bill

shutterstock_124592293The Wall Street Journal, 3/24/14

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto submitted to Congress on Monday a telecommunications bill intended to boost competition in the quasimonopolistic markets dominated by tycoon Carlos Slim’s América Móvil  and broadcast company Grupo Televisa, TLEVISA just weeks after the country’s telecom regulator imposed tough restrictions on both companies.

The proposed legislation is the final step toward overhauling rules governing the country’s telecommunications and television markets, following constitutional changes passed last year in Congress. Investors are awaiting the passage of so-called secondary laws to start taking decisions on new investments and corporate strategy, such as possible mergers and acquisitions.

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All the president’s men

Latitudes Press.The Economist, 2/15/14

Three brotherhoods are struggling for control of Apatzingán, a dusty town in the south-western Mexican state of Michoacán. One is deadly: the Knights Templar drug gang. One espouses vigilantism: the armed “self-defence” militias who on February 8th helped drive the Templars out of their stronghold. The third is the most powerful: a young and preppy group of federal-government employees sent in by President Enrique Peña Nieto to retake control of Michoacán after tension between Knights Templars and vigilantes threatened to spin out of control.

Many of this third group served under Mr Peña when he was governor of the state of Mexico in 2005-11. They have known each other for years and banter like friends at a tennis club. Their insertion into Michoacán reflects a wider trend in Mexican politics: the resurrection of an old but effective style of presidential rule.

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Mexico City teacher protests force change in date of president’s state-of-the-union address

Dario Lopez-Mills - AP (2)The Washington Post, 8/29/2013

Teachers’ protests that have snarled traffic, blocked government buildings and caused the cancellation of sports events in Mexico City have prompted President Enrique Pena Nieto to change the date of his state-of-the-union address.

The address traditionally delivered around the start of Congress’ fall session was scheduled for Sunday. That’s the same day a dissident teachers’ union plans the latest in a series of protests against the president’s proposed education reform.

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THIS THURSDAY: “New Ideas for a New Era”

coverWHEN: Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 9-10:30am

WHERE: 5th Floor Woodrow Wilson Center

On the same day that President Obama begins his trip to Latin America, the authors of the Mexico Institute’s new policy report will present their recommendations for strengthening U.S.-Mexico relations. President Obama and President Peña Nieto will meet in the context of booming bilateral trade, a major U.S. effort to reform immigration law, a potential Mexican energy reform, and ongoing but evolving cooperation in addressing public security and organized crime. The discussion will touch on each of these topics, as well as other issues in the bilateral relationship.

To RSVP, click here…