Ekonomske analize
Mexico

Mexico

Population 129.0 million
GDP 10,062 US$
B
Country risk assessment
A4
Business Climate
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Synthesis

MAJOR MACRO ECONOMIC INDICATORS

  2020 2021 2022 (e) 2023 (f) 2024 (f)
GDP growth (%) -8.6 5.7 3.9 3.2 2.5
Inflation (yearly average, %) 3.4 5.7 7.9 5.6 4.0
Budget balance (% GDP) -2.8 -2.8 -3.2 -3.3 -5.0
Current account balance (% GDP) 2.0 -0.6 -1.2 -0.3 -0.8
Public debt (% GDP) 50.2 49.2 47.8 46.8 50.0

(e): Estimate (f): Forecast

STRENGTHS

  • Geographic proximity to the US economy
  • Membership of USMCA and many other trade agreements
  • Substantial industrial base
  • Prudent fiscal and monetary policies
  • Free-floating exchange rate
  • Adequate foreign exchange reserves
  • Large population and relatively low labour cost

WEAKNESSES

  • Strongly dependent on the US economy
  • High criminality linked to drug cartels and trafficking, widespread corruption surfing on poverty and inequality
  • Weaknesses in transport, health and education
  • High informality in the economy and the job market (55%)
  • Narrow tax base, with tax revenues representing 17% of GDP, depleted sovereign funds
  • Oil sector and PEMEX undermined by years of underinvestment

RISK ASSESSMENT

Growth momentum expected to ease somewhat
Growth momentum should lose some steam in 2024. Growth will be damped by the gradual softening of US activity, which will affect the manufacturing industry (and its exports) and by durably tight credit conditions. The central bank started to cut policy rates in March 2024, but a restrictive monetary stance is likely to prevail throughout the year. Furthermore, household consumption (70% of GDP) will continue to register an acceptable growth rate, thanks to the rigidity of the local labour market and income support measures such as increasing the minimum wage to above inflation (20% in 2024). Importantly, possible weakening of the US labour market may tend to reduce remittances to Mexico, thus exerting negative pressure on domestic consumption, depreciation of the Mexican peso against the dollar throughout the year would help soften the negative impact. Regarding gross fixed investment (25% of GDP), while the country will likely continue bearing the fruit of tailwinds related to the nearshoring trend and to the US 2022 Inflation Reduction Act thanks to its USMCA membership, the pace of private investment growth may lose steam, as investors could delay some projects until after the elections in Mexico and the US in June and November 2024, respectively. However, public spending (11%) will accelerate as indicated by the 2024 budget, with higher transfers to households.

Sound external accounts and temporary fiscal slippage
The minor current account deficit should widen slightly in 2024. The trade deficit (-0.3% of GDP in 2023) is likely to increase this year due to a slower deceleration in domestic activity compared to the US (the destination of roughly 80% of Mexican exports). In addition, the secondary income surplus (3.4% of GDP) should slightly decline, underpinned by weaker remittances on back of a softer US job market. Similarly, the services account deficit (1% of GDP) should also increase driven by relatively weaker travel surplus amid fewer US visitors. By contrast, the primary income deficit could narrow (2.4% of GDP), notably due to lower dividend repatriations by foreign investors. On the financing side, foreign direct investment (3.1% of GDP) will continue to comfortably cover the external account shortfall. In addition, external debt (excluding FDI-related debt) stood at 31.4% of GDP in December 2023 (17% of GDP for the public-sector portion). All told, Mexico should keep its solid external position which is supported by foreign currency reserves of USD 213 billion (covering roughly 4 months of imports) and a preventive USD 35 billion Flexible Credit Line with the IMF (renewed for two years in November 2023).
On the fiscal front, the government is expected to temporarily deviate this year from its long record of prudent fiscal policy. The revised 2024 budget estimates the nominal fiscal deficit at 5% of GDP. The deterioration would notably be explained by higher expenditure, including higher social spending and interest payments. In addition, revenues should slightly weaken on back of lower oil related revenues (a further reduction in state-owned oil company Pemex’s profit-sharing from 40% to 30% was approved by lawmakers). In addition, the budget also indicates a new capitalisation of the oil company of roughly 0.4% of GDP. Importantly, while the government expects the fiscal shortfall to shrink to 2.5% of GDP in 2025 (due to lower spending), fiscal consolidation will be carried out by the new government.

Mexicans go to the polls in June 2024
Currently serving his last year in office, leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador unveiled a package of constitutional reform proposals to Congress in February 2024. It included several measures, such as reforming the pension system (which would have a fiscal impact in the medium term), revising the process for appointing judges, electoral law, and environmental regulations, among others. Although most of these proposals are unlikely to pass in the legislature (the ruling Morena party lacks the two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress needed to push through changes to the Constitution), fierce opposition by the opposition would likely prove politically costly as the 2 June, 2024, general elections loom. Indeed, in Mexico, presidents are not eligible for re-election. However, Obrador's high popularity (owing to stronger social policies and investments in poor regions) tends to benefit Morena in the race. According to a March 2024 poll, Morena´s presidential candidate, former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, holds a wide lead over the second favorite, former Senator Xóchitl Gálvez of a three-party opposition coalition (58% vs. 34%, excluding the 17% undecided voters). A Sheinbaum victory would represent policy continuity, with fiscal consolidation expected to be resumed and social programmes to be broadly maintained. In addition, the troubled state-owned oil company PEMEX is expected to continue relying on sovereign support. Worth noting is that the front-running candidate vowed to keep expanding the state-owned energy companies (PEMEX and CFE) activities, while also accelerating the transition to renewable energies. Sheinbaum seems open to private participation in the sector, although the public sector would likely maintain its market share of over 50%. She also stated that PEMEX could participate in the exploration of lithium. Importantly, in addition to the single-round presidential vote, the Lower House (500 seats) and the Senate (128 seats) will also be fully renewed. In March 2024, polls indicated that the Morena party and its allies would fall short of reaching a Legislative supermajority, thereby reducing the possibility of passing reforms that could undermine economic and political institutions. Meanwhile, the prospect of US elections in November could briefly spark uncertainty. Nonetheless, even if Donald Trump were to return to the Oval Office, it is unlikely to prove disruptive to Mexico (in terms of trade relations and the nearshoring trend). First, it is important to bear in mind that it was during the Trump administration that the USMCA trade agreement (set for its first six-year review in 2026) was reached (replacing the old NAFTA). Furthermore, the US prefers to restrict China's influence in the Western Hemisphere rather than block trade with Mexico. Although Donald Trump floated the idea of a 10% blanket tariff on all US imports, Mexico would likely be exempted under the USMCA.

 

Last updated: March 2024

PAYMENT

Debts are commonly paid in Mexico by cheques, wire transfers and – in some special cases – credit cards. Corporate payment processes are governed by companies’ internal policies. Most companies request supporting documentation from the other party before proceeding with a transaction (e.g. the company’s articles of incorporation, or its tax identification, known as the Registro Federal de Contribuyentes). The documents most frequently related to commercial transaction are invoices, promissory notes, and cheques. Promissory notes are unconditional promises, in writing, to pay a person a sum of money. In Mexico, this document is normally used as a guarantee of payment from the buyer. It is signed by the legal representative of the buyer – and hence, the debtor – for an amount which is superior to the total amount of the debt. Promissory notes and cheques also serve as certificates of indebtedness. Once buyers possess the relevant information, they can proceed to make payments by wire transfer or cheque, with both methods taking approximately ten to fifteen working days. Wire transfers are more common, as cheques can be post-dated, thus presenting the risk that buyers will issue cheques that they cannot finance.

 

Debt collection

Invoices

In terms of debt collection, original invoices act as proof of the acceptance of the debt and the establishment of a commercial relationship between the parties. According to commercial and civil laws, the commercial agreement is sealed by two elements: an object (in this case the product or the service), and the price of the object as agreed by the parties. Even in the absence of a written agreement, an invoice provides both of these elements. Invoices are therefore the most effective form of proof in a lawsuit situation, as they show that the parties made a sale agreement and have a reciprocal obligation to pay the price agreed and to deliver the goods or provide the service.

In 2014, the Mexican Tax Authorities (Servicio de Administraci Servicio de Administración Tributaria) ruled that all invoices must be electronic, with an XML file. They must also be verified by the tax authority system in order to be validated. The tax authority also requests electronic confirmation when the creditor receives payment, along with a receipt in an XML file as legal confirmation. These new requirements entered into force in December 2017. The goal of these changes is to limit the amount of fraud cases and ghost companies, both of which are prevalent in Mexico.

 

Amicable phase

Before entering into legal proceedings in Mexico, creditors normally attempt to contact their debtors via telephone. A written letter is sent to the debtor, in which the debtor is notified of the amount of the debt and the creditor’s intentions to negotiate payment terms, other steps include a visit to the debtor by a collection specialist. During this visit, the collection specialist will attempt to develop a more detailed perspective on the debtor’s situation. The specialist will endeavour to ascertain if the company is still in business and if it has assets (such as real estate, merchandise or other rights) that could be seized in the event of a legal process.

When creditors initiate collection actions with an amicable phase, it is common for debtor companies to disappear altogether. This means the discontinuation of commercial activities that could potentially enable the payment of sums due.

When entering into commercial export relationships, companies are advised to ensure that all documentation conforms to Mexican law. A lack of correct information and documentation opens exporters up to the possibility of fraud committed by Mexican companies and reduces the likelihood of successful debt recovery during the amicable phase.

 

Legal proceedings

The Medios Preparatorios a Juicio Ejecutivo Mercantil is a pre-legal process takes place when there is an invoice as a proof of the pending payment and of the commercial relationship. Creditors request that the judge obtains a citation from the debtor or its legal representative. He then obtains the confession and acceptance of debt from the debtor, as well as the pending payment. As the confession before the judge is an executive document, the creditor is then able to initiate the Summary Business Proceeding legal process. This pre-legal process takes approximately two or three months. There are subsequently three types of proceedings that can be initiated against debtors:

 

Summary Business Proceeding

This legal process takes place when there is a Certificate of Indebtedness (promissory notes, cheques or legal confessions before the judge by the debtor or its legal representative). The process begins with the phase of citation, when the creditor initiates the lawsuit by requesting that the debtor pays the total amount of the debt due. If the debtor does not have sufficient funds, the creditor can request that some of its assets be seized. These assets can include real estate, merchandise, bank accounts, industrial property rights and trademarks, to be used as a guarantee against the total amount of the debt. Once the assets are seized as a guarantee of the debt, the legal process continues until the judge renders his final resolution. Then, if there is no negotiation or payment, the creditor can initiate the auction of assets to recover the debt. This legal process takes approximately six to eighteen months, although this can vary from case to case.

 

Ordinary Business Proceeding

Ordinary Business Proceedings are the most time consuming procedure in Mexican commercial law. They can take place in the absence of a Certificate of Indebtedness, which means that the only proof of a commercial sale between the parties is the commercial agreement with invoices. In this type of process, assets can only be seized as a guarantee of the total amount of the debt when the judge has rendered his final sentence condemning the debtor to make payment. This legal process takes approximately one to two years.

 

Oral Proceedings

Oral proceedings take place when the total amount of the debt does not exceed EUR 31,856.68. As with Ordinary Business Proceedings, assets can only be seized as a guarantee of the total amount of the debt when the judge has rendered his final judgment condemning the debtor to pay the amount due. This process takes approximately four to six months. On May 2, 2017, Mexican congress made a modification which ruled that all commercial disputes be processed through Oral Proceedings, with no limitations on amounts, with effect from January 25, 2018.

 

Enforcement of a legal decision

A judgment is enforceable as soon as it becomes final. If the debtor does not comply with the judgment, the creditor can request a mandatory enforcement order from the court, in the form of an attachment order, sale of specific assets, or liquidation of the company. This takes between six months to two years.

Foreign judgments can be enforced through exequatur proceedings. The court will verify that certain requirements are fulfilled, prior to recognising the foreign decision. The court establishes whether the foreign court had jurisdiction to decide on the issue and whether enforcing the decision will not conflict with Mexican law or public policy.

Insolvency proceedings

Out of court proceedings

With the approval of creditors holding 40% of the debt, debtors can constitute a “pre-packaged” reorganisation agreement. This enables the court to issue an insolvency declaration and declare the company in concurso mercantile.

 

Liquidation

Liquidation can only be requested by the debtor itself, but the debtor can be placed into liquidation as a result of its failure to submit an acceptable debt restructuration proposal to its creditors through the concurso mercantile proceedings. A liquidator is appointed and given the responsibility for managing the company, selling its assets and distributing the proceeds to the creditors according to their rank.

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