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Bolsa, Economy Up

The nation is still confronting a battle against inflation
By The News · 05 of July 2017 09:00:35
Dollar and peso bills, No available, photo: CAPITAL MEDIA/Alejandro Meza

Notwithstanding the “Trump Scare” of the past eight months, the Mexican economy has rebounded.

Indicators pointing in the right direction are there and the obvious proof of the pudding is that the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa) has already spilled over the 50,000 point level, with it being 50,112 at noon Tuesday: That’s not good but great news.

If you recall, last November the buoyant market was circa the 45,000 point level, but suddenly with the advent of results in the U.S. presidential elections, the Bolsa plummeted down to around 41,000 points as investors pulled out of the Mexican market given the road rage fits Trump and his following showed against Mexico at large.

In January, things didn’t look good either. Business polls were forecasting for 2017 a mere 1.49 percent growth with fears looming that the economy might go into recession, should it follow on its downward path. But by the end of June, however, Gross Domestic Product growth expectations for the end of the year are now being put 1.98 percent. It may not sound like much, but it’s a very welcome half a percentage point that wipes out the looming downturn.

This does not mean that the “Trump Scare” is over. The nation is still confronting a battle against inflation which at the end of June, went up to 6.30 percent and Mexico’s Central Bank (Banxico) forecast is that it may keep growing for the months to come. Also, Banxico announced that the nation’s international reserves piggy bank lost $2,226 million over the past six months, down to $174,246 from $176,542 billion at the beginning of the year.

Banxico explained that the reduction came from two loans it made to Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and to the Federal Government, which only means that the international reserves are being used to subsidize debt. WhenPresident Enrique Peña Nieto arrived in power on Dec. 1, 2012, reserves were at $199 billion.

Also, Banxico has been hiking its intra-bank interest rate and in the latest increase it shot it up to a whopping 7 percent, one of the highest interest rates in the world. Most likely, the rate will not be taken any higher.

Among other “threats” that the “Trump Scare” brought to Mexico was the fear that he would nix the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the way he did with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) instead of renegotiating it.

But with NAFTA renegotiations a done deal, Mexican exports have grown by over 10 percent and another fear that Trump would slap a tax on remittances is also gone and June remittances grew to over $11 billion, a record 6.3 percent increase that goes against all predicted odds.

Sure, there’s been devaluation caused mostly by the “Trump Scare” that led into galloping speculation, but even then the peso-dollar exchange is holding steady and down from the danger levels it reached six months ago of 22 pesos per greenback. Nowadays it is holding more or less steady at around 18 pesos.

One thing that devaluation — and a higher interest rate — has caused is the loss of purchasing power particularly among a high volume of the population earning fixed wages and feeling the pinch of the current inflationary trend.

Forecasting specialists such as Citi Research foresee that the economy will keep on moving upwards, but only if Mexico goes into renegotiating NAFTA without fear and Banxico puts into practice global economics that keep the boat from rocking too hard.

Hence, the Bolsa is one of the most valuable assets now in the world and it is expected to grow up to 53,500 at the end of the year in what literally will be considered a boom on a worldwide basis, only behind India in terms of capital yields.

As for the “Trump Scare,” it must now be seen as a thing of the past, not just because the nation overcame all of the unwarranted fears Trump’s election provoked, but because in the end, to suit the old Mexican adage, it is a fact that barking dogs don’t bite.