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Heading for a sharp slowdown

Vicente Fox

Mexico ended 2000 on a high note. It was not only the fastest-growing economy in Latin America but posted its best economic performance in 20 years. Now, as it moves into 2001, analysts are divided on how it will fare. What is clear, however, is that regardless of the outcome, something must be done to improve the stock market's lacklustre showing.

After growing an estimated 7% in 2000, Mexico's economy is expected to register the sharpest slowdown in the region this year. Reined in by a downturn in the US economy and a drop in oil prices, growth targets have been lowered to 4.5% in 2001. Corporate profits and employment will be affected, say analysts, and the current account deficit is expected to widen from 3.3% to 3.8% of gross domestic product.

Mexico's growth will still outpace that of its neighbours but the deceleration does not bode well for the stock market.

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