So… Mexico’s economy is looking up, isn’t it? Despite another sluggish print in the third quarter, when the economy expanded just 1 per cent, the government praised the increasing dynamism of the manufacturing and export sectors.
Hmmm. That official confidence has yet to prove catching, it seems. Not only was manufacturing confidence perilously close to the threshold between optimism and pessimism in October, but consumer confidence and producers’ confidence also tumbled.
Consumer confidence, which was down for the second month running, fell by 0.5 points in seasonally adjusted terms and was lower in four out of the five components measured.
Producers’ confidence dipped 0.98 points compared with October in seasonally-adjusted terms, hitting its weakest level since March 2010, and all five of its components were lower. Manufacturing confidence dipped 0.27 points at 50.8 points (close to the 50-point divide between upbeat and downbeat), though there was a rise in expected production, even if orders were expected to be lower.
If you had to nail a phrase to sum up Mexico, “not out of the woods yet” might just be it. It’s what economists keep on saying lately. Rodrigo Aguilera of the Economist Intelligence Unit said it again today:
It looks like Mexico’s economy is not out of the woods just yet; consumer and business confidence numbers continue to paint a rather grim picture of subdued demand. Part of this may have to do with the uncertainty over the fiscal reform, as both business and individuals may be holding off big ticket purchases before it is clear how the reform will affect incomes.
Alberto Ramos at Goldman Sachs said:
Overall, these indicators suggest that activity remained quite weak at the beginning of 4Q2013 in both the manufacturing and services/commerce sectors.
Not so good. Sergio Martin at HSBC saw consumers’ morale remaining “fragile” and thus consumption still under pressure.
Still, the government and the markets seem to agree that things will pick up next year, making confidence in the economy less shaky overall than, say, confidence in Mexico’s ability to qualify for the World Cup at its crucial playoff, whose first leg takes place on Tuesday.
And that, according to sports marketing experts, could deal the economy yet more damage.