If the IMF forecasts are correct, at the end of 2022, that is, when the AMLO administration has concluded its fourth year, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our country will be 1.1 percent below the level with which it began.
This year in particular, while the forecast growth of 5 percent will be the highest in a long time, it will still leave us 3.9 percent below the pre-pandemic level.
The story will be very different for the world economy as a whole and for some individual countries.
Global GDP fell 3.3 percent last year. It is estimated that in 2021 it will grow 6 percent, the highest rate in almost half a century. Therefore, when the year ends, we will be 2.5 percent above the pre-pandemic level.
In the case of the United States, the result will be similar since the first year of the Biden administration will end with a level 2.7 percent higher than the one we had before the health crisis broke out.
The case of China, the second-largest economy in the world, is spectacular. It is the only one among the countries with a relevant productive weight that did not fall last year but grew by 2.3 percent.
With this year’s growth, it will end 2021 10.9 percent above its pre-pandemic level.
Other regions of the world that will not be able to regain the pre-Covid-19 level are Europe, which will be 2.5 percent below, and Latin America as a whole, which will end 2.7 percent below.
But, as you can see if you compare the previous figures, among the great economies of the world, our country will be among those that will have had a worse economic performance in these couple of years.
What is the reason (or reasons) that explain why we are lagging behind in the world?
It is a combination. The poor performance in managing the pandemic, which makes us one of the most affected nations, and the absence of public policies aimed at mitigating the negative impact of the disease on the economy.
The most successful countries managed to at least excel in one of these two aspects. China, for example, took advantage of its authoritarian regime to quickly curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and managed, already in the second quarter of last year, to return to relative normality. That is, they did not require the vaccine to contain the disease.
In the case of the United States, there was poor management of the pandemic during the Trump administration, but a rapid response of economic measures to mitigate the economic impact. And now they are developing the largest vaccination program in the world and have consolidated a strategy that can already be equated by its size to the Marshall Plan, but now for the US economy itself.
Throughout these years, in Mexico not only has a great deal of value been destroyed, but extraordinary opportunities have been lost.
It is a fact that the ‘would’ does not exist. But the exercise of imagining the reality if the actions we undertook as a country had been different is useful to be able to learn.
Simply considering that the Mexican economy would have behaved the same as the Brazilian one –which is not the best reference, by the way, but only as an exercise–, the cost of these two years would be 0.5 percent of GDP instead of the fall of 3.9 points.
If this difference is quantified, of 3.4 points in terms of the value that the SHCP estimates for this year, we would be talking about 860 billion pesos approximately.
And this is just a comparison with an unfortunate case.
After two years, despite the growth of this 2021, the Mexican economy is going to lag behind in the world. It is a fact.
by Enrique Quintana for El Financiero