Guillermo Ortíz is not a popular man, not that he cares much. For
the thick-skinned Ortíz, governor of Mexico's central bank and
hardline inflation hawk, his victory last year when he got
inflation under his 2001 and 2002 targets, was particularly sweet.
Although the business community, especially exporters, revile him
for pushing up the value of the peso, Ortíz's war against inflation
was one important reason for Standard&Poor's decision in
February to finally raise Mexico to investment-grade status, nearly
a year after Moody's had first taken the plunge.
Mexico posted its fourth consecutive year of declining inflation
in 2001. At 4.4%, last year's inflation rate came in below the
Central Bank's 6.5% target and below its 2002 target of 4.5%. This
puts Mexico well on track to meet its 2003 goal of cutting
inflation to the same level as the US, its largest trading partner.
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