The sale of Banamex
On January 12, 2022, Citigroup surprised Mexicans by announcing that it will sell its consumer banking businesses in the country to focus exclusively on financing companies in the country.
Ricardo Salinas Pliego, owner of Banco Azteca, was the first businessman to publicly express his interest in the assets for sale; Later, Banorte, Inbursa, Santander, Scotiabank, Grupo México and Banca Mifel followed.
Until the end of the year, only the company owned by Germán Larrea and Mifel remains on the list of potential buyers, and it is expected that in the first months of 2023 the new owner of the consumer portfolio will be known (credit cards, payroll loans, auto and mortgage loans as well as SMEs), the business of the Afore, the insurance company, all the infrastructure of the branches and ATMs, the cultural heritage, the historical archive and the buildings deployed throughout the Republic.
Tatiana Clouthier resigns
On October 6, Tatiana Clouthier announced that she was leaving the Ministry of Economy, stating that her opportunity to join the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador was “exhausted.”
Clouthier arrived at the Ministry of Economy in 2021, instead of Graciela Márquez, who is now president of the Inegi Governing Board.
“There is nothing abrupt,” he assured about his resignation and added that his departure from the unit had been known since September 26.
Changes in the SAT
The departure of Tatiana Clouthier from the federal government forced President López Obrador to move the chips in his cabinet and the one chosen to implement the country’s industrial and commercial policy was Raquel Buenrostro, who was the head of the Tax Administration Service (SAT).
Buenrostro has his litmus test with the negotiations with the United States and Canada on energy, rules of origin and corn within the framework of the T-MEC.
Other pending issues, also related to the trade side, are Mexico’s free trade agreements with the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Buenrostro’s place in the treasury was occupied by Antonio Martínez Dagnino.
Inflation through the roof
The pockets of Mexicans suffered seriously from persistent inflation in 2022, one of the highest in almost 20 years.
Blockades to supply chains, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the reopening of economic activities were, according to politicians and economists, the causes of this rise in prices worldwide.
To try to contain inflation, the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador decided to subsidize the price of gasoline, a plan that will cost close to half a billion pesos in 2022 alone.
The program called Pacic was also announced to prevent some basic foods from rising in price.
The Mexican economy had its inflationary peak last August and September, with annual rates of 8.7%, which forced the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) to raise its reference interest rate to a historical level of 10.5%.
union in trouble
The Unifin tenant company surprised locals and strangers on August 8 by announcing that it stopped paying interest and principal on its debt, as well as the start of a restructuring process, for which reason it was already negotiating with creditors.
Until the end of June 2022, it had profits of 35 million pesos, but it could not meet its obligations and its restructuring process finance will be led by Rodrigo Lebois .
Unifin is registered with the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) as an unregulated Multiple Purpose Financial Company (Sofom).
Dedicated to leasing, granting automotive loans and fleet management, Unifin also provides financing to SMEs. He has more than 29 years in the Mexican financial sector and since 2015 has been listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV).
The financial crisis that Unifin is going through affects the main development banks of the Mexican government: Nacional Financiera (Nafin) and the Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext), which are among the main lenders of the company both in Mexican pesos and in Dollars.
Bancomext owes 1,443 million pesos. The data is relevant because it is the development bank, whose role is to fund profitable projects for society.
Nafin is Unifin’s main creditor while Bancomext is the fourth main creditor.
Unifin seeks to declare bankruptcy to be able to renegotiate its debts.
Lawsuits in the T-MEC
The policies of the Mexican government have provoked the displeasure of its two main trading partners, who are holding high-level negotiations to settle their differences.
The most controversial, so far, has been the energy issue and that may end with the imposition of panels of controversies to determine who is right. If Mexico has a negative result, it could be punished with the imposition of million-dollar tariffs that would affect the economy.
The other issue has to do with the rules of origin, that is, with the difference in interpretation to determine the origin of the cars produced in North America.
Mexico and Canada are expected to win on this issue over the United States; however, the outcome is still up in the air.
The third dispute that may grow in the future, but that is already being dealt with by top-level officials, is that of the corn trade between the United States and Mexico.
President López Obrador has talked about it with the US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, who has warned that his country can resort to the T-MEC to solve the differences.
In December, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Economy Secretary Raquel Buenrostro traveled to Washington to speak with the United States authorities with a view to defusing these differences on both sides of the border.