Thursday, December 7, 2023

Preliminary statistics show Mexico’s economy grew 5% in October; now nearly back to pre-COVID levels

Mexico’s economy was 5% larger in October compared to the same month of 2021, but month-over-month growth was just 0.1%, according to preliminary statistics published Friday.

The annual growth was the best in 15 months but the month-over-month result was the worst in four months.

INEGI, the national statistics agency, reported that the tertiary, or services, sector grew 5.6% annually in seasonally adjusted terms in October while the secondary, or manufacturing, sector grew 3.5%. It didn’t provide preliminary data for the primary sector, which is industry related to exploiting natural resources, such as mining and agriculture.

The services sector did its best since July 2021, when annual growth was 8.25%. The anticipated 0.1% growth in October compared to September brought the number of consecutive month-over-month expansions to four.

Mexico's Former Finance Minister Carlos Urzúa
Former Finance Minister Carlos Urzúa raised concerns that Mexico’s growth will be much lower in 2023, given that the global economy is slowing. File photo/Creative Commons

If the statistics published by INEGI on Friday are confirmed in final economic data to be released later this year, Mexico’s economy at the end of October was just 0.01% short of reaching the pre-pandemic level of January 2020, the newspaper El Universal reported.

The pandemic and associated restrictions devastated the economy in 2020, causing GDP to plummet by over 8% – the worst decline in almost 90 years. In a speech earlier this week, Bank of México Deputy Governor Galia Borja Gómez described the slump as Mexico’s worst ever economic crisis, but also noted that economic activity has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The federal Finance Ministry is forecasting GDP growth of 2.4% this year and 3% in 2023. Former finance minister Carlos Urzúa – who resigned in 2019 after just seven months in the job – said Thursday that he agreed with the ministry’s outlook for this year but anticipated that growth will be much lower than 3% in 2023, given that the global economy is slowing.

“I wish it were true [that the economy will grow by 3% next year] but almost no one is predicting that. … Forecasts vary between 1% and 1.5%,” he said.

The former finance minister predicted that growth will strengthen to 2.2% in 2024, noting that Mexico’s trade relationship with the United States and the growing nearshoring phenomenon are among factors that will benefit the economy.

With reports from Reforma, El Universal and Milenio

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