MEXICO CITY Jan 9 Mexico's economy should grow
by more than 5 percent per year in the second half of President
Enrique Pena Nieto's 2012-2018 administration thanks to economic
reforms, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said on Thursday.
In 2013, Congress passed a series of measures aimed at
lifting Mexican growth, which has lagged that of regional peers
for years. The reforms stretched from the telecoms sector and
tax changes to ending the country's 75-year-old oil monopoly.
"We expect that once these reforms are applied we'll get to
the second part of President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration
growing consistently above five percent," Videgaray told Mexican
broadcaster Televisa in a wide-ranging interview.
Pena Nieto, 47, took office in December 2012 and is due to
serve a single six-year term. The mid-point is December 2015.
The government has forecast growth of nearly four percent in
2014 after a sharp economic slowdown last year. Final data for
2013 have yet to be published, but analysts' forecasts suggest
Latin America's no. 2 economy expanded about 1.3 percent.
Congress must still pass so-called secondary laws to
implement the energy reform and the sweeping shake-up of the
telecoms sector, which among other things aims to curb the power
of billionaire Carlos Slim's telephone giant America Movil
Implementing the reforms is the "greatest challenge" now
facing Mexico, central bank governor Agustin Carstens told
newspaper El Financiero in an interview published on Thursday.
Videgaray was confident that consumers and small and
medium-sized businesses would start to feel the benefits of the
telecoms reform from 2015 in the form of lower mobile phone
costs. "Without doubt, due to competition," he said.
Turning to the energy reform, the finance minister said
Mexico needed to find $20 billion to $30 billion in additional
investment per annum for the energy sector.
"We hope it'll come with the energy reform," he said.
Crude output in Mexico has fallen by more than a quarter
since hitting a peak of 3.4 million barrels per day in 2004.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Stephen Powell)