June 12, 2020
1. COVID-19 pandemic unevenly distributed across Mexico
Mexico recorded 4,883 new cases of COVID-19 cases nationwide. Cities such as Tijuana have reported a drop in cases, while in Monterrey cases are on the rise. Discussing the topic, Under-Secretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, explained that in a country with a territory as large as Mexico, a national peak cannot be established, as the epidemic is segmented by territories.
The official estimates that the death toll will be between 25,000 and 30,000, as long as public movement restrictions are followed over the next three months. He emphasized that despite the existence of confusing messages, such as those from President López Obrador that “the pandemic was tamed” or from Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer that the epidemic “is going down”; people should stay at home, as the country’s 32 states continue to be on the red stage of the traffic light system signalling coronavirus risk, indicating “maximum risk” of contagion.
2. Ricardo Monreal proposes the creation of the National Institute of Markets and Competition for Welfare
The Chairman of the Political Coordination Board of the Senate, Ricardo Monreal, presented an initiative that aims to merge the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) into a new institute – the National Institute of Markets and Competition for Welfare aimed at preventing and combating monopolies in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, as well as ensuring free competition in these sectors.
Ricardo Monreal explained that the creation of the Institute would represent savings of MXN $1.875 billion (USD $84.02 million), representing 21.05% of the current budget of IFT, COFECE and CRE. The new institute would be an autonomous constitutional body and the directors would be appointed by the executive branch based on nominations from the Senate. Several experts in the telecommunications, energy and economic competition sectors have warned of the risks of merging regulatory bodies in each sector, including the loss of competitiveness and innovative regulation in markets.
3. Minister of Tourism seeks to consider tourism as an essential activity
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which has paralyzed the Mexican economy for at least two months, Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués, held a virtual meeting with the National Conference of Governors (CONAGO), in which they agreed to classify tourism as an essential activity in the resumption of economic activities due to its importance to the national economy.
According to figures from the International Traveler’s Survey (EVI), the entry of international tourists to Mexico was reduced by 78% during this year, which has gravely affected the entire sector. Additionally, Mexican airlines are in crisis because both Aeromexico and Interjet owe a combined MXN $1.04 billion (USD $46.58 million) to Airport and Auxiliary Services (ASA), a para-public company that supplies jet fuel to airlines.
4. Disappearances following protests against Jalisco government draw public condemnation
The Jalisco State Human Rights Commission and various civil society organizations denounced the disappearance of at least 28 demonstrators during the past weekend, following protests over the death of Giovanni López at the hands of the Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos municipal police.
The Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro Ramírez, has reiterated that the demonstrations, which resulted in the destruction of the State Government Palace, were coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior and by Mexico City officials who are trying to destabilize the state government.
Moreover, Alfaro Ramírez assured that his government will follow up on disappearance cases, which, according to his statements, were allegedly carried out by members of organized crime.
5. Crude oil processing has rebounded in recent months
The six refineries in the National Refining System of Pemex processed about 669,931 barrels per day of crude oil, or 41% of the total national capacity. Pemex’s 2019-2023 Business Plan set a target of 643,000 barrels per day, representing 39.2% of national capacity.
This has been possible as four of the six refineries have registered production increases related to their total capabilities. Cadereyta recorded an increase of 11%, Madero of 54%, Minatitlán of 14% and Tula of 7%. The remaining two refineries have seen a decrease in crude oil processing due to repairs, Salamanca had a 16% decrease while Salinas Cruz reported a 15% decrease.
El Economista: Pese a cuarentena Pemex procesó 17% más crudo en refinerías