Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 10:39 UK

Mexico unveils emergency spending

Mexican President Felipe Calderon speaking on 8 October 2008
Mr Calderon's plan boosts spending on roads, schools and houses

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has announced plans for $4.3bn (2.5bn) in emergency spending on infrastructure to help Mexico amid world financial woes.

In a televised address, Mr Calderon warned that Mexico faced a fall in exports, investment and remittances as a result of the US economic slowdown.

Mexico and Brazil, Latin America's biggest economies, have also acted to prop up their falling currencies.

Their central banks auctioned dollars from their reserves on Wednesday.

It was the first time in five years that Brazil had taken such a step and came after a slump in the real's value.

The Mexican central bank moved to auction off $2.5bn after the peso fell to a record low of 14 against the US dollar.

Speaking later, President Calderon insisted that Mexico's banks were solid despite the global economic crisis.

But it was clear that the slowdown in the US and elsewhere would have repercussions in Mexico, including a decline in demand for Mexican exports, less investment and fewer tourists, he said.

"At the same time, many migrants who send money from the US to their families, either now have no job or are afraid of losing it, which suggests there will be less in remittances sent to Mexico," Mr Calderon said.

The spending plan, which needs to be approved by the Mexican Congress, was "not a financial rescue but will focus on strengthening the motors of our economy," he said.

The emergency spending proposals include:

  • stepping up public spending, especially on infrastructure including roads, schools, houses and prisons
  • the construction of a new oil refinery
  • a programme of help for small and medium-sized businesses

Mexico's economy, long dependent on the US, had dealt relatively well with the global credit crunch but the fall in the peso has signalled that the country is now facing a difficult time, analysts say.

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