- Ram Bala Chandran, Senior Portfolio Manager, Emerging Markets Debt, Neuberger Berman
- Carlos Capistrán, Managing Director, Head of Canada and Mexico Economics, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Ariane Ortiz-Bollin, Assistant Vice President-Analyst, Sovereign Risk Group, Moody’s Investors Service
- Jose Enrique Arrioja, Editor, Latin America, Bloomberg News (moderator)
As Andrés Manuel López Obrador nears his first anniversary in Mexico’s presidency, AS/COA hosted a panel to explore the country’s economic outlook. Moderator Jose Enrique Arrioja asked financial experts for their views on prospects for growth, the financial health of state oil firm Pemex, and how rising perceptions of violence affect Mexico’s economic prospects.
Ariane Ortiz-Bollin forecasted limited economic growth due to inconsistent economic policies and mixed messaging, but concluded that we need to look ahead to 2021 to see the impact of the AMLO government’s measures, particularly as it will be a legislative election year. She also noted that weak rule of law has limited Mexico’s credit ratings for some time. Ram Bala Chandran predicted that the U.S. election will result in volatility for Mexico, saying GDP growth will bottom out in the first half of 2020 before recovering in the second half of the year. Carlos Capistrán spoke about the problem of weakening institutions, saying sharp wage cuts for government workers along with moves to limit their future employment in the private sector have meant a deterioration in the quality of management within the AMLO administration. He agreed that GDP growth will be below 1 percent in 2020, and that growth has been weak despite Mexico not facing any external shocks. He noted positive factors too, such as the Central Bank’s independence and NAFTA still being in place, while recommending that the AMLO government take a step back to let the private sector “do its job.”