As another year comes to a close we can’t help feeling some frustration that the economy just doesn’t seem to want to take off, both around the world and here in Mexico. Between the Eurozone debt crisis and stubborn unemployment in the United States, among other topics, we’ve got plenty to keep us fretting for the foreseeable future. But since the holidays are upon us and presumably it’s a time for good cheer, here are some of the talking points we’ll have in our pocket as we hit the punch bowl hard in the coming days:
GDP growth: Banco de México and Banamex are projecting final 2011 GDP growth in the range of 3.8%. OK we’re not talking China numbers here but compared to 2009’s -6.1 we’ll take it.
Hot industries: While most sectors of the economy are merely shuffling along, certain industries are getting, or remaining, seriously hot. The big star this past year was automotive manufacturing, which after suffering a rough patch during the recession has roared back, with production and exports well up over 2010 and a number of significant new investments announced. Aerospace manufacturing also continued its unchecked expansion, with new international investments announced and exports projected to post double-digit growth for the year. Outside of manufacturing, mining surged this year, led by demand for gold, silver, copper and industrial minerals, and is on track to exceed 2010’s record setting production value for the year.
Renewable energy: In the energy industry, 2011 saw continued high interest in renewables, with major new investments in a variety of alternative energy sources. New wind power generation plans were announced not only in Oaxaca, site of the largest wind developments, but also in northern states such as Zacatecas and Baja California and far south eastern Quintana Roo. Interest in solar electricity generation appeared to surge as well, with a range of projects announced for manufacturing sites, corporations, municipal lighting and rural electrification, among others. The growth in demand for solar panels is helping drive expansion of domestic photovoltaic equipment manufacturing.
Agriculture: The agriculture and livestock sector faced a severe challenge this year with devastating drought conditions in various northern states. A bright spot, nonetheless, is the growing diversification of exports such as meat. Mexican beef has found a new market in Russia, to which exports of frozen beef surged this year, and exports of pork to China and Japan are expected to rise in 2012 following recent regulatory moves. Chinese authorities have certified a number of Mexican pork packing plants to export to the Asian giant in 2012, while Japan recently agreed to increase quotas for imported Mexican pork, as well as beef and chicken, beginning next year.
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