AMLO to lithium: My precious!

Here in Mexico the big midterm elections coming up in June are absorbing a lot of attention right now, but before we talk about that we just wanted to make some comments on a topic currently flying a bit under the radar: Lithium mines.  The issue is, prior administrations granted a number of concessions to foreign private companies for the exploration and eventual production of lithium in Mexico, and a small number of these companies have been out in the desert scratching around in hopes of finding a viable mining site.  Two things make this more important to Mexico now than it may have seemed a few years ago: First, a massive lithium deposit in the northern state of Sonora is being developed by foreign capital with plans to begin commercial production within two years; and second, Mexico is currently governed by a president who views the private sector — and particularly foreign companies — to be exploiters, thieves and enemies of the nation.   Continue reading AMLO to lithium: My precious!

Recent and upcoming investment in Mexico

Information collected from media reports over the last month:

  • Automotive: German auto parts maker ZF Group announced it will undertake a US$86 million expansion to its manufacturing plant in the central state of Querétaro. The increase in production capacity will allow the company to boost output of steering systems at the site. (Somos Industria, March 31, 2021)
  • Logistics: Mexican logistics operator Henco Global inaugurated a new 540,000 sq. ft. warehousing and distribution facility in the central State of Mexico, the company reported. Total investment was not specified for the site, which was reportedly designed to support Mexico’s fast-growing demand for e-commerce shipping. (T21, March 25, 2021)
  • Railroad: U.S.-owned rail freight operator Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM) is projecting investment of approximately US$118 million this year in upgrades for Mexico operations. Areas targeted for improvement or expansion include infrastructure such as a new clearing yard, cranes, signaling equipment and sidetrack, as well as rolling stock and operational systems technology. (T21, March 26, 2021)
  • Metal forming: U.S. sheet metal manufacturer Tenere announced plans to move its Mexico operations into a larger 180,000 square foot plant in the northeastern state of Nuevo León. Total investment was not specified for the expansion, which is projected to allow the company to double its output of sheet metal enclosures, racks, chassis and cabinets for clients in the cloud infrastructure, network architecture, fiber optics and renewable energy industries. (Mexico Industry, February 2021)
  • Electric vehicles: Swedish car and truck maker Volvo announced plans to invest in 300 charging stations for electric vehicles in Mexico, in support of the company’s plan to transition to all electric or hybrid vehicles by 2030. The amount of investment was not specified for the project, which will be carried out in partnership with Italian-owned electricity technology company Enel X. (Cluster Industrial, March 24, 2021) Continue reading Recent and upcoming investment in Mexico

Recent and upcoming investment in Mexico

COVID-19

Mexico’s COVID-19 indicators have generally improved over the past month.  The number of new cases per day has declined steadily compared to January, and the national rate of hospital bed occupation is down to 40%.  Bed occupation is higher in the Mexico City area at 60%, however this is an improvement over the peaks of 90% reached in January.  Mexico’s vaccination campaign is gaining speed after a poorly executed launch, however the number of vaccinations administered lags behind the average rate of most developed countries. (Data taken from Citibanamex Monitoreo de COVID-19, February 25, 2021)

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY

  • Retail sales in Mexico contracted 9.3% in 2020 with respect to the previous year, reaching their lowest level since 2014, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INEGI). The only subsectors posting positive growth were online and catalog sales (52%) and health-related products (6%). (El Economista, February 25, 2021)
  • Mexico’s construction industry was hit hard by the economic slowdown in 2020, contracting 17.5% on the year, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INEGI). The drop-off is the steepest for the industry since 1995. (Reforma, February 12, 2021)
  • Remittances from abroad to Mexico represented 3.8% of the country’s GDP in 2020, a record high. The total value of remittances to Mexico grew by over 10% last year with respect to the previous year. (El Economista, February 1, 2021)

Continue reading Recent and upcoming investment in Mexico