March 13, 2020
1. Women demand stop to gender-based violence
In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8th, thousands of women marched across Mexico’s major cities demanding an end to violence against women, gender equality and requesting justice for the victims of femicide.
Additionally, an estimated 22 million women joined the feminist collective called “the witches of the sea” to halt activities at schools, jobs and shops in protest. According to preliminary figures, the protest cost the economy a figure that exceeds MXN $20 billion (USD $910 million). Educational services were among the most affected sectors, as 67.5% of teachers at the preschool, primary and middle school levels are women.
2. Health secretariat reported that the COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico is in Phase 1
Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, reported that up to this Thursday, 12 cases of patients infected with COVID-19 have been confirmed, all of which have been imported, so isolation and follow-up measures for patients corresponding to Phase 1 of pandemic will continue.
Hugo López-Gatell reported that it is very likely that within 15 days the country will enter a second phase of the pandemic, which involves the spread of the virus by local sources and would entail health containment measures in areas of contagion that could mean cancellation or rescheduling of more than 8,000 massive events. In addition, the Undersecretary of Health added that Mexico could be an alternative for receiving flights from Europe, following President Donald Trump’s international travel ban for the United States.
3. Mexican peso drops sharply in exchange market
Amidst an adverse economic environment resulting from the fall in oil prices, the World Health Organization’s announcement declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic and the lack of policies taken by the United States to minimize risks from the outbreak of the new disease, the Mexican peso reached a price of MXN $22.50 to the U.S. dollar.
The Bank of Mexico, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Credit, announced the auction of a USD $2 billion exchange rate hedge package to cope with the volatility of the Mexican peso. The auction aims to improve liquidity conditions and improve the functioning of the exchange market.
4. Mexican Stock Exchange closes with historic fall
The Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) halted trading as an emergency measure after it recorded a 7% crash on Thursday. The Price and Quotes Index (IPC) recorded a drop of 4.40% – the worst drop in the IPC since September 10, 1998.
The BMV’s trading stop was also echoed by capital markets in other regions, where other indices reported historic falls, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average which recorded a 7.9% drop, S&P 500 fell 7.07% and Nasdaq declined by 7.23%.
5. Head of Office of the Presidency outlines “Plan B” of expenditures and investments
The Head of the Office of the Presidency, Alfonso Romo, announced that due to the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the adverse economic environment – marked by lower oil prices and a turbulent Mexican peso – the government is already considering scenarios to outline a “plan b” with adjustments to spending and “greater aggressiveness” to attract investment.
Alfonso Romo called on Mexicans to stay calm and take advantage of the opportunities in the current context to position Mexico as a recipient of investments currently concentrated in China.