global economy

Mexico’s economic slump eases in Q3 2020

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Mexico’s economic slump eases in Q3 2020

A worker gives the thumbs up next to a Mexican flag at the construction site of a new international airport at the Santa Lucia Air Force Base in Zumpango, Mexico, on October 16, 2020. - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visited the construction of the airport, which has a progress of 40.1%. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP)

AFP

Mexico's gross domestic product rebounds 12% in July-September 2020 from the previous quarter, but analysts say the economy still faces a difficult path ahead

Mexico said on Friday, October 30, its economy, the second biggest in Latin America, showed signs of recovery in the 3rd quarter after it relaxed pandemic control measures that had triggered an unprecedented slump.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded 12% in the July-September period from the previous quarter, the most since record-keeping began several decades ago, according to an official preliminary estimate.

Compared with a year earlier, GDP was down 8.6%, national statistics institute INEGI reported.

“Our economy is recovering,” said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“Our forecast is coming true that we would fall due to the pandemic, but rebound quickly, like a V,” he told reporters.

The economy suffered a record 18.7% plunge in the 2nd quarter from a year earlier after the country was semi-paralyzed by lockdown measures.

Mexico has registered more than 90,000 coronavirus deaths – one of the world’s highest tolls.

The government imposed lockdown measures at the end of March and started gradually reopening the economy in June.

A rise in employment in September and October means the labor market could return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the 1st quarter of 2021, Lopez Obrador said.

‘Second wave’

Analysts, however, struck a more cautious tone, saying that the economy still faces a difficult path ahead.

“The recovery is far from complete,” said Gabriela Siller, an economist at Banco BASE, noting that Mexico was still in the grips of the pandemic.

“A second wave [of infections] is likely to slow down the recovery,” she warned.

The Mexican economy has now posted 6 straight quarters of year-on-year declines, something not seen since 1983 during a severe financial crisis, Siller noted.

Some analysts have criticized Lopez Obrador for not spending more to boost the economy, particularly the private sector, in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

The left-wing populist says his priority is helping ordinary Mexicans with social aid and loans while avoiding saddling the country with increased debt.

The central bank warned last month that the economy was in danger of shrinking by 12.8% for the whole of 2020 if the pandemic worsens.

The International Monetary Fund has urged Mexico to do more to boost the economy with fiscal and monetary stimulus.

It forecasts that Mexican GDP will shrink 9% in 2020 before rebounding 3.5% in 2021.

The government announced a $14-billion investment plan this month in cooperation with the private sector to boost the economy through infrastructure projects. – Rappler.com

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