Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Facebook


In the first 26 months of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) administration, Mexico’s foreign debt increased by $22.3 billion, an increase of 46 percent from the term of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN).

The difference in external debt accrued  between the two presidencies amounted to approximately $7.3 billion.

Carlos Vázquez Vidal, an analyst at the Center for Economic and Budgetary Research, pointed out several reasons for the increase in debt during AMLO’s presidency, including the drop in income due to the covid-19 pandemic, the drop of international interest rates, the lack of adjustments to government spending and financing given to the state-run oil giant Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

“The government announced a measure for the treasury to issue debt instruments for Pemex to pay its debt,” said Vázquez Vidal. “Because Pemex lost its rating and it is more difficult for it to get financing, it is at the same time more expensive. So what we are seeing is a decrease in Pemex’s debt and an increase in that of the federal government.” 

Mexico currently has a debt to the World Bank for $3.85 billion, a loan 53 percent higher than any given out during the entirety of the EPN administration, in just the first two years of AMLO’s term.

Héctor Magaña, analyst at Tec de Monterrey’s Center for Research in Economics and Business, attributes the increase in debt to the economy’s contraction in 2020 due to covid-19, as well as a lower peso-dollar exchange rate, raising the debt-to-GDP ratio.

…April 6, 2021

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