AMLO Stresses Economic Responsibility After Pena Nieto Meeting

(Bloomberg) -- Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s next president, stressed the importance of a smooth economic transition and pledged collaboration on the 2019 budget plan after meeting with the nation’s outgoing president.

Speaking after meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto at Mexico’s National Palace in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, Lopez Obrador announced that he will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which the foreign ministry said will take place on July 13 in Mexico City. AMLO, as he’s known, said his transition team would offer to help negotiators working toward a Nafta agreement, but that the government has done a decent job so far.

In the first news conference since his election on Sunday, Lopez Obrador also repeated some of his campaign pledges, from respecting the central bank’s autonomy and ensuring a fiscal balance to taking only commercial flights when traveling as president to keep costs down. He said that the nation’s 2019 budget plan, due for passage in December, will include an increase in pensions for the elderly and programs for youths.

"During this period we need to make sure the transition is orderly, peaceful, that there aren’t any shocks and that there’s confidence in the economy," said Lopez Obrador, who began his message to the press with economic pledges, such as reiterating he’d let the peso float freely.

Lopez Obrador also said that he plans to attend a summit of leaders of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc, comprised by Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru, in the beach resort town of Puerto Vallarta, the final week in July. The presidential transition will officially begin when the electoral court formally declares him president elect, he said, which takes place after a full count of ballots.

The peso has strengthened since Sunday’s election and was up 2.4 percent to 19.4832 per dollar on Tuesday, the best performing currency in the world.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.