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Has “Mexico’s Moment” Come and Gone?

September 3, 2015
Plain English Version
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

It is three years into the term of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. He promised reforms that would help Mexicans have more money and jobs. Most of the reforms have not happened.

What went right, what went wrong?

He did challenge the status quo. The hold of the telecommunications companies on the country was weakened. He turned some of the energy industry over to private companies. Those are the good reforms

For the most part, wages are stagnant, inequality is rising, and economic growth is declining.

The investment in the private economy he promised is not happening. Money has not gone into bridges and roads. Some good news is that Mexican debt is not rising. Inflation is low.

Three events were not foreseen. The fall in oil and gas prices hurt the Mexican economy. The value of the peso has fallen compared to the dollar. The cost of imports has risen.

The mood in the country is not good. Crime and corruption remain real problems and real barriers to change. An expert said crime and corruption cost the nation one full point in economic growth.

Some sectors are doing well. These are in the manufacturing area. Companies making parts for autos and exports are growth sectors.

Still, Mexico remains a hard labor, taxi driving, and street vendor economy.

An expert said, “The mood is negative.” There is stability, but not growth. It will be hard to turn things around. Another expert said, “You have to boost the confidence of consumers and investors. It requires leadership and good political skills.”

About 20 percent of the labor force is unemployed or working part-time.

An economist said, “It is naïve to sit here with our arms crossed waiting for the reforms to have results. It is like telling somebody who is sick to wait five years for the cure to appear.”

Source: The New York Times September 1, 2015

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