Since the beginning of the oil boom in 1978, the Mexican economy has gone through two contrasting phases as the data in Table 2.1 testify. Up to early 1982 the gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate exceeding 8 per cent. The amount of investment, of which public sector investment was an important component, increased by more than 15 per cent a year. In the meantime, however, the rate of inflation and the deficit in the non-oil current account were growing. External debts shot up in 1981 when the upward trend of the oil price was interrupted and interest rates were increased. As the expansionist policy of the Mexican Government continued, the economy became highly vulnerable and finally faced the balance of payments crisis in February 1982. Thereafter the economy was in one of the worst depressions in its history (GDP was lower in 1988 than in 1981 as the table shows) and very unstable. A new macroeconomic policy programme was formulated including cuts in public expenditure, restrictions on wage increases, interest rate increases and the devaluation of the peso. Apart from some lapses in 1984–5, these measures remained in force for the rest of the decade.
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