Mexico’s agriculture grows while industry and services lag
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The graph above shows the overall index and its three components. While the secondary and tertiary sectors showed a monthly decrease of 2.1% and 1.4%, respectively, the primary sector, which includes agricultural products as well as meats, posted an increase of 4.9%. While the change seems large, the agricultural sector is much more volatile than its other two counterparts given its susceptibility to weather conditions and global pricing pressures.
The Mexican economy is largely driven by the industrial sector and therefore the monthly decrease of 2.1% has a much larger impact in the economy, explaining why the overall index dropped by 1%. Additionally, while both the agricultural and services sectors expanded for the year, the industrial sector contracted 2.1%, resulting in an overall yearly increase of only 1.4%.
The sluggish overall growth and the negative growth in the industrial sector are red flags for investors in Mexican ETFs (e.g. EWW, NAFTRAC) or Latin ETFs (e.g. ILF, GML), which are generally concentrated approximately 25% in Mexican companies. It is important, though, to keep in mind that the indicator is lagging and shows the view of the direction of the Mexican economy as of December. Furthermore, the Mexican economy is closely linked to the United States, its main trading partner, therefore a recovery in the American economy will translate into gains in the Mexican economy, and more heavily weighted towards the industrial sector which is the bulk of the Mexican exports.