Mexico must minimize coronavirus economic drag, finance minister says

ACAPULCO, Mexico, March 11 (Reuters) – Mexican policymakers need to implement economic measures that can minimize the expected economic drag caused by the spread of the coronavirus before the crisis worsens, the finance minister said..

Finance Minister Arturo Herrera told Reuters that the government is finalizing a plan to attract new investment in the energy sector, even as adverse financial market conditions meant that international oil auctions open to private producers are not currently under consideration.

The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is taking a cautious approach to possible measures to contain the spread of the highly-contagious virus, such as mandatory school or business closures, due to the negative economic impact they could have, Herrera said on Wednesday.

Government agencies must purchase all necessary medicines and other equipment to combat coronavirus, the minister added, as well as speed up spending on public health.

Mexico has reported 8 cases of the the virus so far, among over 45,000 worldwide. But its manufacturing sector is vulnerable as the outbreak disrupts shipments of key parts and components from other countries such as China, while a growing number of global travel restrictions could curb tourism.

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