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Mexican airlines: growing US protectionism creates a cloud of uncertainty over 2017

Mexican Airlines are starting 2017 under a cloud of uncertainty driven by the country’s slower economic growth and the increasing rhetoric by president-elect Donald Trump against US companies planning to sustain or expand their operations in that country. The US auto manufacturer Ford recently back-pedalled on plans to construct a new plant in Mexico, and GM has also drawn ire from the president-elect over its Mexican operations.

The threat of dissolving trade pacts, and Mr Trump’s general anti-immigration stance, sent the MXP plummeting after the US Presidential election, and the latest round of threats of taxation on automobiles manufactured outside the United States has put additional pressure on Mexico’s currency, which has been weaker during the last year and that has created pressure for Mexican airlines. However, for now, Mexico’s air passengers continue to grow at a steady rate. The country’s domestic airlines charted approximately 12% growth in passengers from Jan-2016 to Nov-2016, and international passengers among those airlines for the same time period strengthened by 11%.

Predicting whether those levels of growth will continue in 2017 is a challenge, given the level of uncertainty the US election has created for Mexico, along with internal strife the country is dealing with – including growing inflation and discontent over rising fuel prices.

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