- Title: Anger grows as Mexicans fear higher food prices to follow gasoline hike
- Date: 16th January 2017
- Summary: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (RECENT) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF GRANADA MARKET GENERAL VIEW OF INTERIOR OF MARKET WITH FRUIT STANDS WOMAN LOOKING AT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, TALKING TO VENDOR SIGN SHOWING PRICE PER KILO OF PRODUCT WOMAN BUYING TOMATOES CHICKEN PILED UP AT CHICKEN STAND VARIOUS OF VENDOR, FLORENTINO AGUILAR, CUTTING UP CHICKEN (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENDOR, FLORENTINO AGUILAR, SAYING: "Providers have to raise prices because of the gasoline. That affects me because I don't want to drastically jump to a high price because people get frightened. That is, they are frightened by the prices, they will not buy anything and my profits would be minimal." VARIOUS OF PRODUCE VENDOR, JUAN CARLOS QUIROZ, WEIGHING VEGETABLES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRODUCE VENDOR, JUAN CARLOS QUIROZ, SAYING: "As for vegetables, yes, they have gone up a bit - about 2, 3 pesos, 4 is a lot now. In fruit, it has gone up a little more - 5, 10 pesos." PEOPLE IN LINE OUTSIDE OF TORTILLA STAND LIST OF PRICES AT TORTILLA STAND VARIOUS OF WORKERS PREPARING AND PACKAGING TORTILLAS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HOUSEWIFE, FABIOLA HERNANDEZ, SAYING: "Really, I do not see a good outlook. People are really mad. I don't think there is going to be any benefit or that prices will remain the same, I think they are going to have to go up." MEAT BEING CUT GENERAL VIEW OF CUSTOMER WATCHING BUTCHER CUT MEAT (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CONSTRUCTION WORKER, CRISTIAN URBANO, SAYING: "If they would live how we live day to day. For example, construction work, many think that at best they [meaning construction workers] don't do much, but they don't know the work that we do day to day, that it's a lot of work, that we kill ourselves all week to put a peso in our pockets."
- Embargoed: 30th January 2017 14:14
- Keywords: Enrique Pena Nieto Donald Trump gasoline price hike consumer prices
- Location: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZBW2MB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Mexicans who already feel the pinch from a gasoline price hike share economists fears it will now drive up the cost of food and other basics, adding to the unpopularity of the government ahead of elections this year and next.
Riots that broke out after a 14 percent increase in regular gas prices on Jan. 1 also reflected anger at President Enrique Pena Nieto over corruption, crime and the failure of reforms to improve living standards.
More increases in fuel prices are slated for February as the government phases out subsidies, but Pena Nieto vowed he would keep a lid on other consumer prices, and the central bank said any spike in inflation would be temporary.
In Mexico City's Granada market this week, few gave credence to government reassurances, a sign of the risk for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party in gubernatorial elections this year and the 2018 presidential vote.
"Providers have to raise prices because of the gasoline," said trader Florentino Aguilar as he chopped raw chicken at another market. "That affects me because I don't want to drastically jump to a high price because people get frightened."
Housewife Fabiola Hernandez said she didn't believe the government as she left a market with corn tortillas from a shop that had just raised prices by 1 Mexican peso ($0.05) following the gasoline hike.
The head of Mexico's tortilla association said prices for a kilo of the flat corn patties that are staple to the Mexican diet would rise by between 1 and 3 pesos this month above prices of 10 to 16 pesos per kilo last year, daily El Universal said.
"Really, I do not see a good outlook. People are really mad," Hernandez said. "I don't think there is going to be any benefit or that prices will remain the same, I think they are going to have to go up," she said.
A bigger jump in tortilla prices sparked protests in 2007.
Inflation is also fanned higher by a record slump in the peso on fears U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could crimp trade with Mexico. Analysts say the peso could fall further if Trump slaps a threatened tax on exports from Mexico.
Higher consumer prices could hurt consumer demand, which has supported growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy amid uneven demand for exports to the United States.
Consumer prices will rise by 1.61 percent in early January following the gasoline hike, according to analysts at Banamex. That would be the highest month-on-month jump in 17 years. Inflation data for early January is due Jan. 24.
Morgan Stanley in a note on Friday revised its outlook for inflation this year from 3.9 percent to 5.1 percent, which would be the highest since 2008.
Morgan Stanley said the inflation could strengthen populist candidates, although the measure would help improve government finances.
Pena Nieto's popularity sank to 24 percent in one November poll, the lowest since he took office in 2012. On Friday, opposition lawmakers blasted government officials for implementing the hike without reigning in spending.
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