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Consultant warns of plastics slowdown in Mexico

By: Stephen Downer

March 22, 2013

MEXICO CITY — January retail figures published this week by the Mexican government's statistics institute show practically zero growth in the sale of food, drink and other domestic items that use plastics heavily, according to industry consultant Eduardo de la Tijera Coeta.

In an open letter to members of the industry, he writes that the figures indicate the Mexican economy is slowing down and that plastics consumption in Mexico this year may contract.

"In 2013 we cannot aspire to growth in the consumption of plastics larger than last year's 5.3 percent," he wrote. "On the contrary," he adds, "growth may be at least one percentage point down" on last year's.

He warned that the situation will affect not only Mexico's plastics processors but also raw materials suppliers, and he urged the industry to embark as quickly as possible on efforts to recover market share by substituting imports.

"To achieve this, we need to organize ourselves and pull together, since trying to go it alone will achieve little and will make the task more difficult and less profitable."

The survey of Mexico's commercial establishments in 37 cities, published March 21 by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (Inegi), reveals a 1.8 percent growth in retail sales in January compared with the same month in 2012, thanks largely to a 14 percent increase in the sale of automobiles.

But De la Tijera points out that elsewhere sales were "practically zero" — including food (+0.1 percent), drinks (+1.6 percent), self-service stores (+0.2 percent), while those of furniture and household products in general were 6.8 percent down.

De la Tijera is president and CEO of Grupo Texne, of Mexico City, which offers consulting services to the chemical, petrochemical and plastics industries. He was president of plastics industry association Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC) for two years between 2006 and 2008. End