Chop chop. Mexico’s economy escaped falling into a technical recession in the second quarter by a whisker, but as far as the central bank is concerned, it is far from out of the woods.
In its second quarter inflation report, the Bank of Mexico again cut its 2019 growth forecast, pencilling in a range of between 0.2 per cent to 0.7 per cent, compared with 0.8 per cent to 1.8 per cent in its first quarter report.
The bank, which this month cut interest rates by a quarter-point to 8 per cent to help the economy — its first reduction in five years — has repeatedly lowered its growth estimates as the economy has stagnated.
The market’s growth expectations in the latest market survey by bank Citibanamex averaged 0.6 per cent this year.
Carlos Urzúa, who resigned as finance minister last month, wrote in a column in El Universal newspaper this week that after GDP growth of zero in the second quarter and a 0.2 per cent contraction in the first quarter, it appeared “literally impossible that we can reach annual growth of 2 per cent as established in the economic criteria approved [as part of the budget] last December”.
He added: “Furthermore, it appears improbable that GDP growth can even meet the 1 per cent threshold.”
The government will present the 2020 budget on September 8, and could revise its own forecasts then.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has refused to entertain predictions that he will not deliver on growth targets, proclaiming on one occasion that “I have other data”. However, he has increasingly suggested that growth is not the be-all and end-all and that he wants to deliver welfare to Mexicans.
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