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Mexico slowdown threatens López Obrador’s honeymoon

Monday, March 11, 2019

Manuel León gazed longingly at a big-screen television in a Mexico City department store. “I’m only spending on the necessary — food and rent. For a luxury like a TV, this isn’t the time.”

It is a common complaint. Despite sky-high approval ratings for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who marks 100 days in office on Sunday and has already put money into people’s pockets by boosting state handouts, many Mexicans are tightening their belts. Most data point to economic prospects this year that are rapidly worsening, despite the president’s repeated promises of higher growth.

Retail sales crashed to a five-year low in December. Automobile sales — a key barometer in a country where consumer spending has driven growth in recent years — were nearly 7 per cent lower in February than in January, the Financial Times reports.