Mexico industrial activity plunges in April amid pandemic

Business News

Pedestrians stroll past an open pharmacy amidst otherwise closed shops, in central Mexico City, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Mexico’s capital plans to reopen certain sectors of the economy and public life beginning Monday, despite the city still being in the most serious “red light” phase of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s industrial activity plunged by nearly 30% in April compared to a year earlier as the economy ground to a halt under measures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

There had been a comparatively small drop in March as the government began recommending people stay home, but April was the first full month the country was essentially locked down.

Compared to March 2020, industrial activity fell a 25% in April, the worst monthly decline since the National Institute of Statistics and Geography began tracking the monthly data in 1993.

Construction and manufacturing took the biggest hits, falling 38% and 35%, respectively, compared to a year earlier, according to INEGI’s report Thursday.

Mexico’s economy was in recession even before the pandemic. Its central bank has forecast the economy will contract by 8.8% this year. Other analysts have said it could be even more.

That panorama has been a driving force behind President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s push to reactivate the economy sooner than some think wise. The country’s COVID-19 infections are still peaking, but sectors including construction, mining and automotive manufacturing have been allowed to resume operations.

On Wednesday, Mexico’s official death toll rose by 708 to 15,357 — one of the highest daily totals yet. The number of total confirmed cases rose by 4,883 to 129,184.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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