Finance Minister Jesus Silva-Herzog has told Mexican congressmen that Mexico is seeking $4 billion in new loans from foreign creditors this year, not the $6 billion it reportedly has been requesting, according to a transcript of his remarks released today.
Despite recent Finance Ministry statements that Mexico's "net financial requirements" this year will be $6 billion at "a minimum," the government will borrow no more than the $4.1 billion in foreign credits it had budgeted for 1986 before the recent plunge in oil prices, Silva-Herzog said in a meeting with Mexican legislators on Thursday.
The remaining $2 billion that Mexico needs will be met by "negotiating" $1 billion in additional export sales and by deferring $1 billion in payments owed to the Paris Club -- the world's 11 major industrialized nations -- Silva-Herzog said.
The Mexican government doesn't plan to rely on new loans to provide "even one cent of the additional $2 billion we need to obtain this year," Silva-Herzog said.
Foreign bankers and diplomats said that Mexico should be able to obtain a Paris Club rescheduling agreement, but that Western governments want Mexico first to negotiate a new pact with the International Monetary Fund.
In mentioning the possible "negotiation" of an additional $1 billion in export sales, Silva-Herzog was referring to proposals he made in meetings with U.S. official in Washinton last week to give Mexico preferential access to the U.S. market, Finance Ministry spokesman Rafael Resendiz said today.
"We don't want to ask for credits to cover the $2 billion we need, so we are trying to take care of part of it by exporting more," Resendiz said. "The question isn't just one of new financing, it is how will we be able to absorb the loss in oil earnings."
Mexico hasn't yet specified which goods it wants to export in increased volume, Resendiz said. If Mexico is unsuccessful in its efforts to compensate for $1 billion of its oil income shortfall with additional export earnings then, of course, it would be a whole new ball game," he added,
In revised balance-of-payments projections issued last week, which placed the country's net financing needs at $6 billion, the Finance Ministry had already increased estimates of Mexicco's 1986 non-oil export earnings $500 million.
Silva-Herzog's Thursday report to legislators about Mexico's borrowing plans appeared to contradict Finance Ministry reports issued earlier this month, that estimated Mexico's "capital requirements for 1986 should be around a total of $6 billion, which is to say $2 billion more than was foreseen in this year's budget."
The 1986 budget called for $4 billion in net foreign borrowing this year. Mexico plans to seek $2.5 billion from private banks, about $1 billion from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, and $500 million from Western government lenders, Silva-Herzog said yesterday.
Since the 1986 budget and borrowing program was prepared, however, oil prices fell by $10 a barrel. This unanticipated price decline forced the government to reduce its 1986 export income projections by between $6 billion and $7 billion, Silva-Herzog said in a message to Western governments last weekend. As a result, Mexico's net financing requirements in 1986 will be $6 billion at "a minimum," assuming an average $15 oil price and export sales of 1.3 million barrels a day, the finance minister said in a statement telexed to his counterparts in Canada, France, Britain, West Germany and Japan.