January 29, 2021
1. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tests positive for COVID-19
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tested positive for COVID-19 after a two-day tour to Nuevo León and San Luis Potosí. Presidential spokesperson Jesús Ramírez has reported that, so far, the president’s symptoms are mild, and he remains in good health. Public officials who were in contact with the president, such as Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, and Health Undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell, have gone into preventive quarantine and tests have been carried out to rule out a possible contagion.
On the other hand, in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, President López Obrador held a telephone call with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in which the Russian government agreed to send 24 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine over the next two months.
Milenio: AMLO sigue con síntomas mínimos de covid-19: López-Gatell.
Milenio: López-Gatell, Ebrard y Tatiana, aislados; AMLO tuvo febrícula.
La Jornada: Acuerdan AMLO y Putin masivo envío de la vacuna rusa
2. INEGI publishes results of the 2020 census
The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) released the results of the 2020 Population and Housing Census, highlighting that Mexico’s current population stands at over 126.14 million – placing the country at 11th among the most populated countries in the world.
Julio Santaella, President of INEGI, indicated that during this latest census, more specific questions were asked, which allowed for the collection of data that was not previously available. One question was targeted towards the economically active population, where it was recognized that the economic participation rate of women has grown by 15.7% in the last 10 years.
3. International organizations forecast positive growth for the Mexican economy
According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook report, the Mexican economy will recover 4.3% during 2021. According to the report, this forecast is supported by the improved economic outlook for the United States, which is expected to grow by 5.1%, in addition to the increase in exports, which is expected to grow by 4.3% in 2021.
Alicia Bárcena, Executive President of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), indicated that exports in Mexico could increase by as much as 25%, allowing Mexico to grow above average among Latin American countries and grow between 10 and 15% during 2021. However, the Secretary clarified that this forecast is subject to an efficient and effective vaccination campaign at home, and the recovery of the U.S. economy.
El Financiero: Ola optimista en previsiones económicas para México.
El Financiero: Exportaciones mexicanas rebotarían 25% en 2021: Cepal
4. Mexico initiates relationship with Joe Biden administration
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador held his first telephone meeting with the U.S. President Joe Biden, accompanied by the Foreign Affaris Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, and businessman and former Chief of the Office of the Presidency, Alfonso Romo. During their meeting, they discussed issues such as immigration, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as cooperation for the development and welfare of both nations.
Likewise, Ebrard held a telephone meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. During their conversation, they established the basis of the relationship between both countries, where immigration, collaboration against organized crime and illicit arms trafficking are considered priority issues.
5. COFECE fines banks and intermediaries for manipulation of bond markets
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) imposed a fine on banks and individuals who acted as intermediaries for engaging in monopolistic practices in the government bonds market in Mexico. Among the banks sanctioned include Barclays Bank, Santander, Deutsche Bank, Banamex, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, BBVA México, among others. So far, the total fines have amounted to more than MXN $35 million (USD $1.73 million).
The Senate has requested files and investigations, in addition to requesting the appearance of COFECE chief Alejandra Palacios, as they consider that the fines imposed fall short, considering it a matter of “fiscal and budgetary looting.”