November 15, 2019
1. Bolivian President Evo Morales granted political asylum in Mexico
The Mexican government offered political asylum to the former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, following his resignation and military pressure. A plane from the Mexican Air Force transferred Morales from Bolivia to Mexico where he was received by Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced in a press conference that Mexico will not recognize a military government or any that does not come from a legitimate electoral process. He also criticized the Organization of American States for not denouncing the military pressure that led to Morales’ removal.
2. Mexico’s Central Bank cuts benchmark interest rate
The governing board of the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) decided to reduce the benchmark interest rate by .25 %, bringing it down to 7.5%. this is the third consecutive cut announced by Banxico and is reportedly aligned with the decision of the United States Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates.
The rate cut announced by Banxico was put forth amidst a domestic context of economic stagnation and an inflation level of 3.02%. Banxico has assured that risks to the Mexican economy remain, as a result of political and social uncertainty in some countries, in addition to trade and geopolitical tensions.
3. Petróleos Mexicanos suffers cyberattack
State-owned oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), reported it suffered a cyberattack that was quickly neutralized and only ended up affecting 5% of the company’s computer equipment.
The outbreak was caused by ransomware, a malware that encrypts and blocks information. Hackers asked for money to unlock the information. President López Obrador, minimized the attack and assured that everything is in order, while Energy Minister Rocío Nahle, stated that the USD $5 million being requested by the hackers to remove the malware from the computers will not be paid.
4. President López Obrador and business leaders agree on comprehensive infrastructure plan
Industrial Chamber Confederation (Concamin) leader Francisco Cervantes Díaz met with President López Obrador, where the two agreed on the development of a National Infrastructure Plan consisting of 60 projects.
The plan includes 15 projects that will begin next year with an initial investment of MXN $158 billion (USD $8.2 billion), the main objective being to complete or expand roads and airport infrastructure works to boost the country’s economy. The official presentation of the plan will take place on November 26.
5. Mexico could lose investment grade
According to the November monthly survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, given to Latin American investment fund directors, 77% of surveyed investors estimate that credit rating agencies will take away the investment grade that Mexico currently possesses.
The loss of confidence among regional investors stems from the economic slowdown affecting Mexico, concerna about the policies of the López Obrador administration, a downgrade in the credit rating of Pemex and uncertainty surrounding the ratification of the T-MEC trade agreement.