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中国株レポート
投資の視点
新興成長国基礎データ
中華人民共和国
パプアニューギニア
インドネシア
スリランカ
バングラディッシュ
インド
韓国
タイ
パキスタン
マレーシア
ベトナム
フィリピン
アルゼンチン
ブラジル
チリ
メキシコ
エクアドル
ベネズエラ
ペルー

ヨルダン
ポルトガル
ギリシャ
ポーランド
ハンガリー
ザンビア
トルコ
ナイジェリア
モーリシャス
ボツワナ

Geography

At 1.97 million sq. km, Mexico is one of the largest countries in Latin America. In the north, it shares a 1,900 mile border with the USA. In the south, it borders Guatemala and Belize. The core of the country is a high plateau edged by mountains except to the north. Mexico City, the capital, is to the south of this plateau at an altitude of 2,240m. There are coastal plains between the mountains, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean in the east, and California and the Pacific to the west.

Demography

The total population of Mexico was estimated to be 85 million in 1992. About half of the population is under the age of 19. The population growth rate has fallen from an average of 2.9% a year in 1970-80 to 1.9% a year in 1990-92. 72% of the population was estimated to be urban in 1989. The population of the metropolitan area of Mexico City was estimated at 15 million in 1990. About half of the population is thought to live below the poverty line.

In 1990 only 12% of the population was illiterate compared with 26% 20 years earlier. Until recently Mexico had been catching up in educational provision. In 1965 only 17% of the relevant age group was enrolled in higher education. This percentage rose from 4% to 16% in 1987.

In 1989 the workforce was estimated to number some 30 million. This is a relatively small proportion of the total population, reflecting the fact that only about half of those in the appropriate age group actually enters the formal labour market. About 35% of the working proportion are engaged by the services sector, with transformation industries accounting for 24% and trade for another 21%. 25% of the workforce is involved in agriculture. A substantial proportion of the economically active population is engaged in the informal economy.

History and Political Situation

Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1810, by means of a revolutionarycivil war, although formal independence came only in 1821. Lacking the stabilising influence of a constitutional monarchy (under a Spanish or European prince) that the independence movement had implied, Mexico was subject for more than fifty years to predatory militarism. This included the war with the US, resulting in the loss of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas in 1845, a three year civil war from 1857-60, and a brief period when the French opportunistically imposed the Habsburg Archduke Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico. In 1867 he was rapidly overthrown by a liberal movement once French troops were withdrawn.

The dictator, President Porfiro Diaz dominated Mexico from 1876 until the revolution of 1910, a landmark in Mexican history, when the constitutional opposition led by Francisco Madero took up arms to oppose Diaz's imposition of his own re-election, leading to six years of civil war. Mexico's current constitution was adopted in 1917 and is a more "social" document than the previous narrowly political liberal constitution. With a politically fragmented Mexico, the Partido Nacional Revolucionario was formed in 1929 to mediate between the competing revolutionaries and to control organised labour and the peasants fighting for land reform.

Between 1934-40 President Lazaro Cardenas carried out extensive land reforms, curbing the threat of agrarian insurrection, and expropriating foreign oil companies, thereby gaining his reputation as a reforming radical. He strengthened the Presidency by establishing a sexennial change of office holders, by organising the official party on functional rather than regional lines, and by bringing the military under presidential control. His success, paradoxically, laid the foundation for today's conservative regime. Mexico's political system is dominated by the Partido Revolutionario Institucional (formerly the PRN), the largest single party. Although opposition parties have been free to contest elections they have had little chance of winning in the past. The PRI has managed to maintain control because of the popular fear of another period of violence such as the revolution of 1910-16 and has provided a remarkably cohesive ruling elite that has provided over fifty years of political stability and forty years of rapid economic growth.

This political stability, however, under a virtual one party system, has been under threat in the last decade with growing social and economic tension in the oil boom years and the Presidency of Jose Lopez Portillo in 1976-82. Portillo borrowed heavily against future oil revenues, thus provoking the debt crisis in 1982 and the nationalisation of the banks. The process of structural economic reform under President Miguel de la Madrid had to be accelerated when the oil price collapsed in 1986. This caused a high level of social and political unrest and the strongest internal fractions within the PRI's history.

The presidential and general elections held on 6th July 1988 were a watershed in Mexico's political history; they marked a serious electoral contest between Mexico's second strongest party, the newly formed Party of the Democrat Revolution(PRD) led by Mr. Cauhtemoc Cardenas and the PRI. De la Madrid selected his planning minister, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, as PRI's presidential candidate, and Salinas won a very close election, the result of which was disputed by the PRD.

The numerous elections held since President Salinas came to office have demonstrated that a part of the ruling PRI is strongly opposed to relinquishing power and hence the practice of electoral "alchemy" has continued. At its 14th National Congress in September 1990 the PRI did agree to changes. The most important change agreed was that candidates for public office would be democratically elected by the party. The new rule does not extend to presidential candidates, who will be picked by a newly created consejo politico (political council).

Economy

Between 1958 and 1970, Mexico achieved real economic growth of about 6.8% per annum or 3.2% per annum on a per capita basis, with an inflation rate of under 4%, a performance which at face value was up to the standards of today's South East Asian countries. In addition ratios of public sector deficits and public external debt to GDP were low and stable, real interest rates were positive, and the current account deficit never exceeded 3% of GDP. What went wrong?

While the oil price collapse in 1986 greatly exacerbated the situation, the origins of Mexico's recent economic problems lie in the very uneven distribution of the fruits of economic growth, and the continuing poverty of a large section of the population. In 1970 President Echeverria sought to address this by accelerating the rate of growth and increasing public expenditure, on the theory that the benefit would eventually trickle down to the worst off. Structural changes to the economic system which might have achieved the same effect were ruled out by political considerations in that they might have loosened the PRI's system of control.

Echeverria was unfortunate to encounter a world recession as he attempted to put his strategy into place, so the policy was already showing signs of strain by 1976 when President Lopez Portillo decided to reinforce it. Indeed Portillo appears to have ignored the lessons and magnified the mistakes of Echeverria's administration: by 1982, despite a huge rise in the volume and value of exports, the policy of defending a grossly over-valued peso had led to capital flight on a massive scale, and to the build-up in external debt that remained a problem until the early years of the Salinas administration.

As it was, President Miguel de la Madrid's government from 1982 to 1988 was left to pick up the pieces. With foreign reserves virtually exhausted at the end of 1982, and debt service taking a major proportion of export earnings, a major surplus from non-oil exports was required (in addition to further borrowing) for the economy to show any growth - still a political imperative given the high rate of population growth. Between 1986 and 1988 however, economic growth was negligible, with high rates of inflation, even though manufactured exports, assisted by maquiladora plants, expanded rapidly.

The December 1987 "Pacto de Solidaridad Economica"(PSE) was agreed as part of an anti-inflation plan between the Government, labour unions and business organisations. It froze prices, wages and the exchange rate and allowed for swingeing tariff cuts. The Pacto, which was extended twice in 1988, reduced the annual inflation rate from 159% in 1987 to 52% in 1988.

In May 1989, the Salinas government unveiled its Plano Nacional de Desarrollo for 1989-94. The plan had two principal economic goals: annual GDP growth of 6% and inflation at levels similar to those of Mexico's main trading partners. The growth target was to be achieved partly by boosting the share of investment in GDP, with private investment being encouraged by government moves to privatise state companies, deregulate sectors such as banking and transport and foster foreign investment and capital repatriation. Although growth in the first half of the plan period exceeded the target, the average for the second half is unlikely to be reached, partly because inflation has proved harder to tame than expected and partly because import growth has been faster than anticipated.

Mexico's national stance has traditionally been influenced to a very great extent by its historical relationship with the USA. An important agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was initialled in October 1992. This is in line with the government's policy for a closer relationship with the USA in the hope of raising private investment and attracting modern technology to Mexico. The Clinton administration is expected to honour the basic agreement reached by the previous Bush administration, although seeking side agreement on environmental and U.S. job protection issues. Should this for any reason not happen, the eventual outcome would probably be to induce a peso devaluation and slower than projected economic growth.

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