It's been three long years since the dreaded pandemic descended upon the world, and Mexico's tourism sector is still trying to catch its breath. Despite valiant efforts, tourist arrivals and international visitors have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon: the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur) confirms that foreign exchange income for the first quarter of 2023 has surpassed that of the same period in 2019. A silver lining amidst the clouds, wouldn't you say?
According to the Results of Tourism Activity (Rat), a modest 10.1 million international tourists graced Mexico's shores between January and March this year. Now, that may sound impressive, but hold your sombreros for a moment. Cast your memory back to the first quarter of 2019, and you'll recall a more bountiful figure of 11.1 million international visitors. Yes, there's still ground to cover.
March, the merry month of spring, witnessed a total of 18.8 million international visitors. While this may seem like a respectable number, it pales in comparison to the 24.6 million jet-setters who made their way to Mexico during the same month last year. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
But let's not wallow in despair! There's news that should put a smile on your face. Prepare to do a little victory dance, for Mexico is projected to rank 28th in the world when it comes to tourist spending in 2022. Yes, you heard it right! Our beloved nation will secure a spot among the big spenders, according to the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur). So, get your wallets ready, amigos, and let's give a warm Mexican welcome to the abundance of travelers heading our way!
In other news, let's take a gander at the business realm. Brace yourselves for the success story of Grupo México, a mighty conglomerate that includes our country's largest mining company. Despite a series of local and international hiccups, this resilient giant has managed to double its market value over the current six-year term. Can you believe it? That's a mind-boggling increase of 104 percent, totaling a staggering 326 billion pesos. Talk about striking gold!
Now, let's shift gears and focus on our old friend Pemex, the national treasure that keeps our engines running. In April, Pemex proudly announced its production of approximately 1.9 million barrels of hydrocarbons per day. Impressive, isn't it? Well, hold on to your cowboy hats, because that number doesn't even include the contributions from private partners. It's a testament to Pemex's unwavering dedication to keeping the oil flowing, and we salute them for it.
But wait, there's more! Did you know that Pemex is not just an oil heavyweight but a fertilizer champion as well? Yes, you heard it right. More than 70 percent of the fertilizers received by our hardworking farmers come straight from the production lines of Pemex. They've even rescued two production plants that had been gathering dust for a jaw-dropping 21 years. In 2022 alone, Pemex produced a whopping 839,000 tons of fertilizers. And guess what? A staggering 91.06 percent of that total was churned out by those once-idle plants. It's a bloomin' miracle!
Now, let's zoom in on a less rosy picture—the fuel market. Gasoline sales by Pemex in the domestic market saw a dip of 11.40 percent in April compared to the same period last year. The volume of gasoline sold amounted to 620 thousand barrels per day, a significant drop indeed. What caused this downward spiral, you ask? Well, it seems that the energy crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine played a prominent role. The higher demand witnessed in April 2022, as a result of the crisis, created an unfavorable contrast for Pemex this time around. It's a tale of fluctuating fortunes, my friends.
Now, let's talk banking. It's a tale of a slow but steady decline for Banco Nacional de México (Banamex) under the watchful eye of Citigroup. Over 12 years, Banamex has slipped from being the second-largest institution in the financial system to now occupying the fourth spot. A bittersweet reality, wouldn't you agree? The National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) shares these less-than-stellar tidings. It's a reminder that even giants can stumble, and the finance world is no exception.
Lastly, we turn our attention to oil investments. Private energy companies and our dear Pemex have been cautious in opening the investment floodgates. Despite the low figures from last year, the first quarter of this year only saw a mere 12 percent of the total investment committed for 2023 being injected. It seems like a foot hovering above the gas pedal, hesitant to press down and revitalize exploration and production projects. The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) serves as our guide through this labyrinth of numbers, revealing a need for increased momentum.
So, Mexico's tourism sector may be on the road to recovery, our mining conglomerates may thrive, and Pemex may continue to fuel our nation's progress. But there are bumps in the road, be it in gasoline sales, banking standings, or oil investments.