Mexican voters will go to the polls June 6, 2021 for what is being widely touted as the largest election in the country’s history. Citizens will cast ballots for nearly 21,000 public offices including all 500 seats in the federal Chamber of Deputies and 15 of 32 state governorships, among many local elected positions. Turnout is expected to be higher than usual for a non-presidential election, due to the polarized political atmosphere currently prevailing in the country, and the media are regularly running pieces arguing that the stakes are high for institutional democracy in Mexico. We agree that the institutions underpinning democracy in Mexico, such as it is, are under attack right now to an alarming degree, but we feel that this is most likely a short-term problem. The larger challenges to Mexico’s development as a nation-state, alas, are more long term. Here is a brief summary of how we see the situation: Continue reading Mexican mid-terms giveth or taketh away for AMLO
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!
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)