March 6, 2020
1. President’s approval rating drops
Several approval polls were published this week that showed a drastic decrease in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s approval. Prominent daily El Universal recorded a 22.3% drop in his popularity, to 57.1% in March 2020 from 79.5% one year prior.
President López Obrador attributed this drop in his popularity to attacks from conservatives. Other polls have also registered tumbles in his popularity over the last year: 19% (Reforma), 23% (Buendía y Laredo), 18% (De las Heras Demotecnia). The key issues that have led to this fall include lingering insecurity, economic stagnation, high unemployment and femicides.
2. Consumer confidence records fall
According to the Consumer Confidence Indicator (ICC), carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), Mexican consumer confidence fell 4.7% compared to the same period in 2019 to its lowest point in three years.
The variables examined by the Consumer Confidence Indicator that showed a decrease included: expectations about the country’s macroeconomic stability, confidence in the labor market, consumer prices and the current situation of the Mexican economy.
El Economista: Consumidores frenan su confianza en la economía mexicana
3. Financial Intelligence Unit investigates MXN $321 billion in illegal transactions
Santiago Nieto, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), reported that his agency has commenced investigations on 177 complaints regarding operations with resources of illicit origin involving MXN $321 billion (USD $15.9 billion).
Among the cases highlighted by the FIU chief include operations associated with fraud of the National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit) for MXN $5 billion (USD $247.4 million) and illicit operations related to members of the Luz del Mundo church involving a child trafficking and pornography network. Nieto also noted that the Tax Administration Service (SAT) has identified at least 1,086 companies as “simulators” for the use of false invoices and illegal outsourcing practices.
4. Ministry of Finance and Public Credit forms a board to mitigate impact of Covid-19
Secretary of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), Arturo Herrera, said that it is still too early to evaluate the economic impact of the new coronavirus in Mexico. With only five confirmed cases, Arturo Herrera assured that the SHCP has already developed measures to address the economic impact that the epidemic could have.
Arturo Herrera reported that the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit has already established foreign coordination measures with international institutions and ministries of finance in other countries, and within the Bank of Mexico to deal with an outbreak of coronavirus. The Secretary of the Treasury mentioned that Mexico counts with the experience of the 2009 A/H1N1 epidemic when different measures were taken to restrict daily activities.
5. Judiciary halts front label warnings
A Judge granted the Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin) a protection and suspension against the publication of Norm 051 on the labelling of food and non-alcoholic beverages, that establishes frontal warning labels with the purpose of reducing obesity and overweight in Mexico.
The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) considered that the suspension demonstrates a lack of transparency and legality of Norm 051’s approval process and violates consumers’ right to information. In addition, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Health ensured that the decisions of the judiciary would be respected and reiterated that the approval process included all sectors. Organizations that drove the movement for frontal labelling lamented the decision suspending the measure.
El Financiero: Poder Judicial frena norma de etiquetado de alimentos