By RICARDO CASTILLO
Despite restrictions on nonessential travel across the U.S.-Mexico border, two-way trade between the countries has continued on a relatively steady course, with a hefty favorable trade balance for Mexico.
Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, Oct. 6, indicated that U.S. exports to Mexico during August amounted to$17.047 billion, while Mexican sales to the United States totaled $29.806 billion.
These figures place Mexico as the United States’ third-largest trade partner, representing 14.1 percent of total U.S. trade, just behind Canada and China, with 14.5 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively.
Mexico registered a $12.759 billion surplus, while the United States registered a deficit.
Mexican trade has, however, been deeply affected by the covid-19 pandemic, with official forecasts predicting the economy will plunge by 10 percent by the end of the year.
Accumulated 2020 Mexico exports from January through August added up to a total of $202.951 billion, down 15.6 percent from 2019.
Financing for Projects
The announcement on Monday, Oct. 5, by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and the heads of nine entrepreneurial organizations of 297 billion-peso joint government and private investment in public infrastructure projects hit a positive note on Mexican markets.
The investment will be earmarked for 39 different projects, with the lion’s share going to road construction and the revival of the Mexico-Queretaro bullet train.
The stock market shares of construction company Promotora y Operadora de Infraestructura (Pinfra) rose on Tuesday, Oct. 7, by 2.07 percent.
Pinfra is slated to secure financing for several road construction projects currently underway, and could potentially be given more contracts.
Energy Secretary Rocío Nahle released the funds for several Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) programs, and is expected to announced more “packages” coming up over the next few weeks.
At the National Palace powwow, Presidential Chief-of-Staff Alfonso Romo touted the participation of private investment as “the vaccine our ailing economy has been needing.”
Trust Fund Employees Protection
On Tuesday, Oct. 6, AMLO said that federal government employees now working for 109 publicly financed trust funds tagged for elimination will not be laid off.
Instead, he said, they will be relocated within the government, he said.
“We are not going to fire employees,” the president said.
Additionally, many beneficiaries currently receiving money from research and arts trust funds will be paid directly by the Treasury Secretariat, since the idea behind the dismantling of the trust funds is to do away with the massive and expensive bureaucratic organizations the funds have become.
“The resources now spent in the trust funds will go to get (covid-19) vaccines. They will be well used,” AMLO said.
In Defense of the Maya Train
National Tourism Fund Director Rogelio Jiménez Pons responded to statements made by Mexican Employers’ Confederation (Coparmex) President Gustavo de Hoyos on Sunday, Oct. 4, alleging that “the Tren Maya tourist train does not comply with the criteria of social or economic profitability.”
Jiménez Pons said that, as of now, the set tracks and available engines are worth 206.6 billion pesos and show a return rate of 21.2 percent.
“The project will allow us to save 46 percent in travel time for riders and cargo, and will mean an increase in speed of 72 percent over established tracks and will be 12 percent faster than current road transportation options,” Pons said.
The Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico) on Tuesday, Oct. 6, quoted the intra-bank peso-dollar exchange rate at 21.456 pesos per dollar.
On the open market, banks sold the dollar at as high as 21.90 and as low as 21.45 on Tuesday.
The fixed rate is valid for 48 hours.
…Oct. 6, 2020