Billionaire Carlos Slim, who controls Mexico’s biggest wireless and land-line phone companies, said now is a good time to invest in the country because of its low interest rates, a favorable exchange rate, and government policies that promote fiscal stability, as printed in Bloomberg yesterday.
“In this situation, the company that invests gets stronger than the company that does not invest,” Slim, 69, told reporters today at an event in Mexico City. “I don’t have a doubt it’s the moment to invest.” Slim said the central bank’s record-low interest rate was increasing the supply of cheap credit, and that the weaker peso would help exporters. He praised President Felipe Calderon’s nominations this month for new leaders of the central bank and Finance Ministry, and said the government was pursuing sound fiscal policies. “With this change that the government has made, there will be more of a push for growth,” Slim said. “There’s a lot of money at low interest rates.”
Mexico’s central bank has kept the benchmark interest rate at a record low 4.5 percent for four months as policy makers seek to spur growth without fanning inflation. The country’s peso has fallen 16 percent over the past two years against the U.S. dollar, making its exports cheaper for companies in the U.S., which buy 80 percent of Mexico’s goods sent abroad.
Slim said his companies will continue to invest in telecommunications, infrastructure and housing. He said Nov. 17 that they will spend about $7 billion next year, partly on networks in Latin America and real-estate and construction projects in Mexico.
Mexico’s mining industry will benefit from high prices for metals, and it may be a good time to open mines, Slim said. The world’s third-richest man, according to Forbes magazine, Slim controls America Movil SAB, Latin America’s largest wireless phone company, and Telefonos de Mexico SAB, the country’s largest fixed-line phone company, as well as Grupo Financiero Inbursa SA, a Mexican bank, and Grupo Carso SAB, a holding company with industrial and retail properties. He also holds a stake of about 7 percent in New York Times Co. and provided the publisher with a $250 million loan in January.