Public Health

Swine Flu's $2.2 Bln Hit To Mexican Economy

A Mexican official reported today that the swine flu's financial impact on his nation's economy was more than $2 billion so far.

That's a relatively small hit relative to Mexico's estimated $1.6 trillion 2008 gross domestic product. But Mexico, like its neighbor to the north, had already been hurt significantly by the world-wide recession, including the fall in oil prices which hurt one of Mexico's top exports.

The nation's central bank, Banco de Mexico, recently predicted the country's GDP would decline 4.8 percent this year, so swine flu really hit Mexico when it was already down.

Fortunately for Mexico, its swine flu outbreak seems to have leveled off, which allowed authorities there to reopen businesses today before the economic impact could get any worse.

Here's what the Associated Press is reporting:

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's finance secretary says the swine flu
outbreak has cost the Mexican economy at least $2.2 billion.

Agustin Carstens says the government will implement a $1.3
billion stimulus package, aimed primarily at small businesses and
the tourism industry, the sectors hardest hit by the epidemic.

The government will temporarily cut health insurance payments
for small businesses and reduce taxes for airlines and cruise
ships.

Tourism, the country's third largest source of foreign income,
has taken a serious blow with hotel occupancy at half its normal
rate.

Many airlines have canceled flights because of the outbreak..

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