Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekly Currency Update: Peso

The peso weakened sharply this Friday due to fears about the US government probe into Goldman Sachs, but overall the peso has shown growth over the past 3 months.

Today the Peso is trading at $12.20 MXN = $1 USD. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Soriana's profit nearly doubles!

Soriana, a Mexican retailer based out of Monterrey, said it's Q1 2010 profits nearly doubled from a year ago.  Those are pretty amazing results considering all of the economic setbacks Mexico saw in 2009.  The company claims that a change in marketing strategy has lead to increased sales.

Soriana currently has over 471 stores across the Mexican Republic.

Soriana purchased the Gigante chain of supermarkets in 2007, and since then has seen tremendous growth.

Its expansion plans for 2010 include opening 40 new stores.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Outlook for Mexican Economy in 2010

According to the Mexican economists, Mexico's economy is slated to see 5% growth in 2010.

The Mexican economy contracted 6.5% last year due to several events:

-Swine Flu (H1N1 flu) cost the country

-Exports to the US were down significantly, due to the financial meltdown in the US

-The peso was very volatile and at one point reached $15.38 MXN = $1 USD

At the end of 2009, economists were only predicting a 3% increase in the economy.  Why the sudden increase?

-One of Mexico's main exports, automobiles, rose 85% in March

-290,000 jobs were added in the first quarter of 2010, according to President Calderon

-The peso has stabilized somewhat and is now around $12.17 MXN = $1 USD

Despite the positive signs, consumer confidence and foreign investment are still lagging.  Consumers are being very careful with where they spend their money.  Mexico is still very dependent on what is happening in the US economy, so the sooner we see signs of improvement in the US, the sooner it will trickle down to Mexico.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What is a CURP and how do I get one?

What is the CURP? 

CURP stands for La Clave Única de Registro de Población.  The CURP was established as a way to register all citizens of Mexico, both nationals and foreigners, as well as Mexicans living abroad.  It is a unique combination of letters and numbers.

How do I get one?

If you are a foreigner living in Mexico, follow these steps to obtain your CURP:

1.  Make a copy of your FM-3 or FM-2 as well as your passport.  The copy has to include the page where your picture appears.
2.  Take your copies and the original documents (FM-3/FM-2 and passport) to your closest "delegacion".  If you are close to the Polanco area, I suggest going to the CONDUSEF office on Moliere #450C - 1st floor.
3.  Present your documents and your copies and tell the person helping you that you are there to get your CURP. 
4.  They will take your paperwork and have your CURP within 10 minutes!!

Why do you need the CURP? 

If you are planning on opening a business in Mexico, I highly suggest obtaining your CURP.  You will need it in order to get other paperwork, including registering for your Firma Electronica (Electronic Signature) at Hacienda (Mexico's equivalent of the IRS).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Currency Update - Mexican Peso

The Mexican Peso showed improvement today as it closed $12.18 against the US Dollar.  The peso has seen gains over the past three weeks due in part to positive economic news from the United States.  The rising price of crude oil, one of Mexico's main exports, has also helped the peso over the past few weeks.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Immigration Procedures for Foreigners in Mexico

Beginning May 1, 2010, changes to Mexico's immigration law will be put into effect. 

Changes are as follows:

The FMT, or Forma Migratoria de Turista, will be replaced with the FMM, or Forma Migratoria Multiple.  The FMM will be valid for up to 180 days from the date of entry into Mexico. 

The current FM-2 and FM-3 visas (for employees, business owners, investors, students, etc) which are paper booklets (similar to a passport) will be replaced with plastic cards.

These changes are great news for foreigners in Mexico (or those planning on moving) as they will help to ease the immigration process.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mexican retailers moving away from junk food

According to ANTAD (Mexican association of retailers), retailers are moving away from junk food and offering consumers healthier snacks. This move comes as no surprise as Mexico is leading the world in obesity and has a rapidly increasing rate of diabetes.

In a recent article in El Universal, it was reported that Mexicans spend an estimated $1.93 billion pesos on soft drinks every year. That amounts to over 300 million 12 packs!!!
Soft drink companies in Mexico have not been hurt by the financial downturn, in fact, sales last year rose over 11%.

Mexico is behind the US and Europe in its move to offer healthier, more natural food items, but it won't be long before they catch up. One Mexican company has even developed a vending machine that sells cut up fruits and vegetables.

Monday, April 5, 2010

7.2 Quake Rocks Baja California!!

Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, a 7.2 earthquake hit Baja California. The epicenter of the quake was just outside of Mexicali, but was felt as far away as Phoenix and Los Angeles. The area has not seen a quake of this magnitude in years.

While the damage is still being assessed, it appears that at least 2 people are dead and over 100 are injured.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Myths about Mexico's Drug War

As a foreigner living in Mexico, I am constantly asked about the violence associated with the drug war. While the drug war and narcoviolencia are real, I feel that the foreign media has lumped all of Mexico into the same category, instilling a fear in Americans that Mexico as a whole is an unsafe place to go. This is simply not true. A recent article in the Washington Post dispells some of the biggest myths about the drug war.

To read the article click here: Five Myth's About Mexico's Drug War

But the violence is not as widespread or as random as it may appear. Though civilians with no evident ties to the drug trade have been killed in the crossfire and occasionally targeted, drug-related deaths are concentrated among the traffickers.