Mexico – Gasoline prices soar up to 20% and now the tortilla costs threatens the pockets of Mexicans.

Only two weeks after the government of Enrique Peña Nieto announced the hike of gasoline, the inflationary effect has begun to affect products for basic food needs of the Mexican people. According to the Ministry of Economy, the value of the tortilla (symbol of the most essential foods for the Mexican) has grown 2.45% so far this year, but in cities like Durango, León and Zacatecas variations ranges from 9% to 11%.

However, the Mexican Business Council Industry says that “the increase is more widespread and that it averages 20%”.

The tortilla has become a synonym of inflation that hits the people most in need. Social networking users have expressed concern and discomfort with what they call “tortillazo”, while still protesting against the increase of gasoline (petrolzo) around the country.

The group notes that 10% of businesses that sell tortillas closed last year because of inflation and expect 2017 to be worse. The homemade “tortilleries”, the informal, that sell at home have multiplied with the increase of prices.

Ernesto Nemer, director of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office has said that they will watch over companies that “exceed” the price of the tortilla.

The agency has conducted a national survey to determine the average prices of this food, establish a maximum value and fine those who overcharged.

In addition, Mexican inflation has another enemy: the dollar. At the beginning of last year, economists consulted by the Bank of Mexico predicted that the price increase during 2017 would be 3.31%. However, no one expected Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections at that time and the 26% depreciation of the currency against the dollar that this would cause. In the latest survey available, economists were already expecting inflation of 4.13%.

The “Trump presidency has wreaked havoc and this is just the beginning” some say. With promises to change the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and threats of not doing business south of the border, companies like Ford, Carrier, General Motors and Fiat have announced changes in their plans investing in the country.

Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, Moody’s, Santander, Blackrock and Citibanamex predict lower economic growth (between 1.5% and 1.7% for this year) due to the political uncertainty of the northern neighbor.

Social unrest threatens the last two years of Peña Nieto’s government. In addition to the protests against gasoline, which have seen gasoline stations looted and leaving at least six dead, there is an uneasiness over the relationship it has had with the United States.

Trump’s insults against Mexicans, remains very much in the collective consciousness.

 

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