Mask Wearing Not Scientifically-backed; 10 More Deaths Are AddedBy Ricardo Guzman | Fri, 04/03/2020 - 21:57
After US President Donald Trump said his administration was “recommending Americans” to wear non-medical cloth face coverings, Mexico’s Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell said the use of masks is optional. “It is only a recommendation which is not based entirely on science,” he said regarding the reversal of the previous guidance that suggested masks were unnecessary for people who were not sick. López-Gatell called on people not to buy professional or plastic surgical masks to prevent any shortage and said that people can make their own masks.
During Friday’s special briefing, Mónica Macisse, head of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED), lamented the news that people who had tested positive for COVID-19 had been threatened with being fired and denied any healthcare. and called on the population to face the COVID-19 contingency with empathy. According to Friday’s report, 8,602 cases have tested negative.
As of Friday, April 3
178 new cases (from yesterday)
1,688 confirmed cases nationwide
5,398 under investigation
Impact on markets (19.45 hrs)
US Dollar MX$24.69 (2.43%)
BMV IPC 33,075.41 (-1.53%)
Dow Jones 21,029.10 (-1.79%)
ECLAC projects global recession
Mexico's economy could contract between 3.8 percent and 6 percent according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). “It is going to be a heavy fall, and it is not just Mexico. We are talking about a big global recession in the next six months,” said ECLAC’s Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, during the virtual presentation of the document ‘Latin America and the Caribbean in the Face of the COVID-19 pandemic: Economic and Social Effects. Among the agency’s economic, fiscal and social recommendations for Mexico is the support in the form of a specialized plan for companies and SMEs in particular.
Mexican crude oil basket closes at US$20.48
After regains 51.27 percent of its price yesterday, the Mexican crude oil basket rose another 27.6 percent this Friday to at US$20.48 per barrel, according to PEMEX. After global oil prices have experienced one of the sharpest free falls in history, the last two days has seen prices recover some of their accumulated losses after possible cuts in oil production were announced by US President Donald Trump in the face of the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia. WTI rose 31.75 percent on the week to close at US$28.34 per barrel while Brent rose 36.82 percent to US$34.11 per barrel.
Fitch downgrades PEMEX’s rating
Fitch Ratings downgraded PEMEX’s rating from BB+ to BB, placing it now in a negative perspective and two steps below the investment grade. According to the rating agency, the new rating “reflects the company's limited flexibility to navigate the downturn in the oil and gas industry given its elevated tax burden, high leverage, rising per barrel lifting costs and high investment needed to maintain production and replenish reserves.” Fitch highlighted PEMEX's financial vulnerability to the global market and the company's high need for government support. Fitch will continue monitoring PEMEX actions to preserve cash flow over the coming months.
Credit programs next week
Minister of Finance (SHCP) Arturo Herrera reported that next week the ministry will announce various credit programs to support micro and small businesses. The official indicated that the objective is to mitigate the economic impact of pandemic. “At the beginning of the following week we will announce details of various credit programs, through which micro and small businesses will be supported,” Herrera wrote in his Twitter account.
BMV streaks four negative weeks
The Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) IPC finished its fourth week with losses, with an accumulated 20 percent loss compared to March 6. This week's plunge in Mexico’s main indicator was 2.14 percent. During these four weeks, 12 of the 19 operational days showed numbers in the red.