South Of The Border: Foreign Direct Investment In Mexico Up This Year

Mexico sees increase as vote of confidence despite politcal disputes; U.S. principal source of FDI.

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Foreign direct investment in Mexico in the first half of 2006 totaled $8.69 billion, according to Mexico's Economy Ministry. This was an increase of 16.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Mexican officials are interpreting this as a sign of confidence in the country's future despite ongoing electoral disputes.

The U.S. was the principal source of foreign direct investment, followed by the Netherlands, the U.K. and Switzerland

Assistant Secretary of the Economy Alejandro Gomez predicted investors would continue to pump money into projects in Mexico, saying 2006 ''is on track to be one of the best years,'' with foreign investment of about $20 billion.

''These figures are a reflection of the confidence that foreign investors have in the economic path and social and political stability of our country,'' Gomez said.

Investors reactions to the protests in the colonial city of Oaxaca that started in late May, and the protests over the the presidential election in July, are probably not reflected in the first-half figures.

In a statement on its Web site, the ministry said it has knowledge of investment projects under way that would bring first-half FDI to $10 billion.

The ministry said 72.5 percent of the investment was channeled into the manufacturing sector and 22.8 percent into services.

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