Summit Notebook

A bad case of pneumonia for the Mexican economy

May 8, 2009

                                       At the beginning of 2009, as Mexico felt the pinch of the U.S. meltdown, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said the country’s economy was much better prepared than before to resist slowing business from its northern neighbor, where it ships about 80 percent of exports. 
    Asked about the possible effects of the U.S. recession in Mexico, he candidly anticipated in a TV interview in February the economy would only “catch a little cold instead of a pneumonia.”
    The phrase has haunted him ever since as mounting bad news — unemployment, inflation, industrial activity — show Mexico is not immune to the U.S. crisis.
    With Mexico officially in recession — GDP contracted 1.6 percent in the first quarter versus the same period of 2008 and could fall further in the current quarter — Carstens now thinks the economy may not grow again until the first quarter of 2010.
    In an affable chat with Reuters during the Latin American Investment Summit, Carstens also talked about measures taken to keep the peso from weakening further against the dollar but shied away from saying if, or when, daily dollar sales could stop.

Islamic finance just one more crisis victim?

April 13, 2009

It’s not just traditional western banks that are hurting — the recession is hitting Islamic finance hard, too.

No LUV for China real estate, SOHO says

November 6, 2008

China’s real estate sector has a chilly winter ahead, said Pan Shiyi, chairman of Beijing property developer SOHO China Ltd. And he had interesting, alphabetical way of describing it.

For a banker, no panic in China

November 6, 2008

“Well insulated” China, though suffering from sharp drops in its own equities markets, doesn’t have the sense of crisis that exists in the U.S., says Philip Partnow, managing director of UBS Securities Ltd in Beijing. UBS, the first Western bank to assume management control of a domestic mainland brokerage, points out the fact that what’s hitting companies is not subprime-related securities gone bad.

Audio – Tough ride ahead for Mexico’s biggest retailer

April 2, 2008

walmex.jpgWalmex, the Mexican arm of U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is set for another tough year amid an economic slowdown that is making it more difficult for customers to buy anything from food to clothing.
In 2007, retailers were hurt by a downturn in the Mexican and U.S. economies. However, Walmex hopes that its first-quarter results will be decent. 
Listen to the company’s Chief Executive Eduardo Solorzano talk about the challenges ahead during Reuters Latin America Investment Summit. 

AUDIO-Surprised by US intervention in credit crisis

April 1, 2008

ruben_iparraguirre.jpgRuben Iparraguirre, Chief Financial Officer at Banco Patagonia in Argentina, expressed his surprise over the U.S. government’s intervention to keep the credit crunch contained.

Audio – Mexico may need new tax reform over long term

April 1, 2008

finmin.jpgAs Mexico’s oil production gradually declines from peaks in 2004, future governments may need to come up with new ways to tax more products, like food or medicine, to keep healthy coffers, Deputy Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
   Revenues from state oil firm Pemex currently bring government revenue to 20 percent of gross domestic product.

Audio – Against the odds, Mexico’s economy still growing

April 1, 2008

ortiz.jpgMany thought that with a sick neighbor, Mexico should have caught the blues already, right? Wrong. The Mexican economy looks like it is still growing at a good pace while its No. 1 trade partner, the United States, sails through choppy waters. 
   Central Bank Gov. Guillermo Ortiz told Reuters in an interview during the Third Latin America Summit that recent consumption, investment, industrial output and export data showed Mexico’s economic health appears sound, but inflation remains a concern.
   With Mexico’s average consumer prices currently hovering above the central bank’s comfort zone, Ortiz maintained expectations that inflation could range between 4 and 4.50 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Subprime litigation to take years – plaintiffs’ lawyer

February 19, 2008

graziano.jpgLawsuits over losses tied to subprime mortgage loans are expected to drag on for years, according to a lawyer representing institutional investors.

Audio-Dubai’s Amlak eyes 70 pct profit growth in 2008

February 5, 2008

Nasser al-Sheikh, chairman of the Dubai-based mortgage lender Amlak Finance, says he is aiming for a 70 percent rise in 2008 profit on increased lending at home and contributions from foreign operations.