By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Once again, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has questioned the economic expertise of his own financial specialists, this time contradicting the findings of the Finance Secretariat (Hacienda, or SHCP).
Speaking during his regularly scheduled early morning press conference on Tuesday, April 2, AMLO said that the projections made by Hacienda for Mexican GDP growth for 2019 and 2020 are “too conservative” and “fall short” of what his government will accomplish over the next two years.
On Monday, the secretariat issued a report before the Mexican Congress stating that the Mexican economy would grow at between 1.1 percent and 2.1 percent this year, down from its previous projections of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent growth.
As for 2020, the secretariat foresees a growth rate of between 1.4 percent and 2.4 percent, down from its former prediction of a 2.1 percent to 3.1 percent estimate for that period.
Hacienda said that the downgrade in growth estimates was a result of a poor GDP growth during the last quarter of 2018, which has slowed growth for the first quarter of 2019.
But AMLO – who is not an economist and who has consistently refuted predictions from a range of international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Big Three global credit agencies (Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s), calling them “biased” and “hypocritical” – said that his government will prove the Finance Secretariat experts wrong.
Many Mexican financial institutions have painted an even grimmer perspective for economic growth in 2019, including the Bank of Mexico (Banxico), which predicted a 1.6 percent growth, and Citibanamex, which has forecasted a 1.4 percent expansion.
In order to meet the goal of even its latest predicted economic growth, Hacienda said that the administration will have to “maintain fiscal discipline in public finances” and not spend more money than it takes in from taxes and other revenues.
Hacienda likewise noted that, if AMLO stays within his budget, public spending this year will be 5.68 trillion pesos, down 121.2 billion pesos from 2018 expenditures.