Mexico

On 21 April, the Mexican Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, announced that they are now initiating Phase 3 (the final phase) of the contingency plan for COVID-19. The safe distancing measures will remain in place until at least 30 May. In this phase it is expected that cases will rise daily in the thousands rather than the hundreds

All non-essential activities continue to be suspended and Mexicans have been advised to stay at home. Although the lockdown is not mandatory, the Government is asking that people to adhere to this advice.

Mexico's borders remain open, but the border with the US is only for essential travel. Mexico has commenced some restrictions in response to COVID-19, and these vary in different states.

On 13 April, the Federal Government and private sector signed the 'Todos juntos contra el Covid-19' agreement. This agreement enables the population entitled to health services from Insabi, IMSS, ISSTE (public health institutions) to be able to access health services in private hospitals at no cost while the emergency is progressing. This agreement starts on 23 April and ends on 23 May and includes 146 hospitals in 27 Mexican States who will provide second level attention to patients from the public sector.


Economy and trade

The World Bank has forecast a contraction of 4.6% in the regional GDP of Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Venezuela). A return to growth of 2.6% is expected in 2021. Mexico's economy is forecast to contract by 6%, one of the most affected in the region. It is estimated that 1.1 to 2 million formal jobs will be lost in Mexico during the crisis, leading to an unemployment rate of 8%, the highest in Mexico's history. Many jobs in the informal sector will also be lost, however, it is difficult to estimate the exact number given the nature of the sector. The World Bank caveated these forecasts as it is based on latest country level data available as of 10 April 2020. Economic circumstances are fluid in the region and are changing on a day to day basis.

Mexico is New Zealand's largest trading market in Latin America. New Zealand companies targeting Mexico's manufacturing and tourism sectors, including F&B companies, are the most likely to be impacted by the crisis over coming months, mostly due to a decline in demand and investments. The outlook is more positive in the medium term, with some analysts seeing potential gains for Mexico. Earlier in March, the OECD reduced its growth expectation for Mexico from 1.2% to 0.7%. Additionally, a recent decline in oil prices has added an extra layer of complexity to an already adverse scenario. Mexican manufacturing and tourism are the two most affected sectors.

In some respects Mexico is in a stronger position compared to some of its South American counterparts - like Brazil, Chile, and Peru - as it is less dependent on Chinese demand, and has a slightly more comfortable public account position, with most (78%) of its debt issued in local currency and 81% with pre-fixed rates. However, the longer-term economic impacts of COVID-19 on Mexico will largely depend on how the Pandemic develops over the months of April and May.

One of the consequences of the crisis has been a boost to conversations around 're-nationalisation' of supply chains for resilience, which began with the earlier heightening of trade tensions between China and the US. Analysts who take this view claim that Mexico is well-positioned to benefit from a shift in supply chains, which may improve the economic outlook in the medium term.

Supply chain, freight & logistics

The transport and logistics sector in Mexico has slightly increased prices of services across all activities, as companies are attempting to normalise merchandise flow after the first weeks of the quarantine. The Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) has communicated measures taken in ports in relation to disembarking goods and passengers. The main seaports are applying control and prevention measures instructed by the Ministry of Health's Epidemiology General Management plan.

However, the SCT has allowed access to all cruise boats and passenger boats that had to change their original journey routes, to refill fuel and basic consumables, in order to help them return to their ports of origin.

Government support

Mexico's President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) stated during his 100th Day Presidential Report that the Federal Government will make additional investments to amplify social programmes as part of the strategy to counter the sanitary crisis of COVID-19. As part of the strategy, AMLO declared that MXN $25 billion will be used to provide drinking water and drainage, as well for the construction of more than 50 thousand houses in vulnerable areas across 50 municipalities.

On 5th April the Federal government announced 15 proposed economic recovery measures to face COVID-19. The measures largely focused on public sector investment through the creation of new jobs and credits to small family business. However, the timing and availability of these measures is still to be determined.

On 7th April the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial de México (CCE) - Mexico's most important chambers of commerce - presented an economic reactivation plan to the President indicating that companies were largely facing liquidity issues. This comes after they had released estimates that GDP will fall by 10% and 1 million jobs will be lost as a result of the economic crisis generated by COVID-19. It is uncertain what the government appetite will be to implement the measures.

Consumer / B2B trends

According to a report published 6 April, Mexico's e-commerce sales will rise up to 60% due to COVID-19. A Latin American e-commerce giant, Mercado Libre, experienced increased sales of between 100% to 400% on sanitary and cleaning items during March.

According to the general director of the Mexican Online Sales Association (AMVO), the epidemic has served as a kind of turning point for e-commerce in Mexico, as once reluctant potential clients now embrace this new form of shopping. In some parts of the country, online sales have shot up by triple digits, after average growth of 35% in 2019.

It's still too soon to predict e-commerce trends in Mexico in the near future, especially with most economists forecasting an acute contraction in economic growth in 2020, some by as much as 8%.

The epidemic has led to numerous people making purchases online for the first time, and for some of them it won't be the last.


Sector insights

As is to be expected, numerous sectors have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you'll find information on any COVID-19 effects across important sectors and industries in Mexico.

Manufacturing

Mexico is an open economy with a manufacturing sector integrated into global supply chains. The current disruption of supply from China is already affecting Mexican plants whose stock parts are close to depletion. One relevant example is the case of auto manufacturers, which account for around 3% of Mexico's gross domestic product (GDP). These businesses are already reducing their output and may need to halt production if shipment of components are not normalised. The Mexico Government decree in April that all non-essential businesses cease operations will affect the sector further.

There are increasing calls from industries such as the Mexican Automotive Association for the government to delay the entry into force of USMCA until 2021.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies

Covid19.govt.nz
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
Business.govt.nz
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Immigration
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.