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mai 19

Ugg loafers

So although the headline numbers might surprise, Mexico presents something of a mixed bag. Yet this hasn’t deterred investors taking a growing interest in this Latin-but-North American country. In a special report on investing in Mexico, theFinancial Times went as far as to call its macroeconomy “virtually bulletproof.” Move over BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India, China – it’s time for the MISTs – Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey.

Still, there is a weakness in Mexico’s growth, as I saw for myself when I was there last month: the money hasn’t been trickling down. According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Mexico has the highest rate of poverty among the group’s 34 member nations. If you consider inequality, the OECD ranks it the second most unequal, with only Chile more unequal.

Part of Mexico’s appeal to investors is tied into what I think may be the country’s key weakness: inequality. You see, at the lowest-end, labor remains cheap. The Economist points out that in 2003, Mexican pay was three times China’s rates; now it is only 20 percent higher. So Mexican manufacturing is poised for a boom. And while in the past few years Mexico banked on its proximity to the U.S. (lower transport costs) and trade deals like NAFTA to compete with China, it will now be able to manufacture and price products at an advantage.