Julio Santaella, president of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) assured that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remains the leader of the indicators in the Inegi and announced that during the survey of the National Household Income Expenditure Survey (ENIGH) by 2022 it will be possible to confirm whether changes in the consumption patterns of Mexicans during the pandemic will force the inflation weights to be modified.
As dictated by the Law of the National System of Statistical and Geographical Information, in its article 67, the Inegi Governing Board is made up of five members appointed by the President of the Republic with the approval of the Chamber of Senators. But just over 20 days after the end of his appointment, there are no indications of Santaella’s successor.
Interviewed by El Economista, Julio Santaella emphasizes that the institutionality of Inegi does not allow pauses.
Right now, after the approval of the federal budget for next year, Inegi is advancing in the strategy to lift the agricultural census in 2022, which will be the first in 15 years.
Santaella also reports to the Institute ready to start the lifting of ENIGH 2022, and to participate in the project of the single identity card, which was carried under her arm by Olga Sánchez Cordero, when she was in charge of the Ministry of the Interior.
In the lifting of the Population and Housing Census in the midst of a health emergency, it was very important that the pandemic did not leave us in statistical darkness. There were no options and we moved on ”.
Julio Santaella, president of Inegi
The President of Inegi said that when he arrived at the institute in 2015, he had extensive conversations with his predecessor, Eduardo Sojo, and that he received official documentation with the earrings that Inegi had.
Santaella took the opportunity to mention that he would be delighted to remain in office if President Andrés Manuel López Obrador considers it. But he also maintained that he would be in the same disposition to make the transition if the decision does not favor him.
Of GDP and the welfare indicator
According to the official’s personal experience, President AMLO listens and is well informed.
He relates that in the 2020 census he had the opportunity to accompany the interviewer to raise the census questionnaire of the President and his home, and although he discarded giving details of what they responded, he assured that there was a dialogue with the president and with his wife : Beatriz Gutiérrez Muller.
It seems to me that the President has a legitimate concern for the family disintegration that prevails in Mexico as well as for school dropouts, he observed.
He reported that he has had some meetings with the President in these three years of government and one of them was about the president’s interest in having a more comprehensive measurement of the welfare issue.
“Obviously the GDP will continue to be the leader of the indicators. But we also have other indicators that can be used to know the well-being of the population ”.
Santaella announced that Inegi will present the Self-Reported Well-being Survey next week, which this time will be much broader and for more details, he commented that the media have baptized it as “the survey of happiness.”
Buying patterns changed
The official agreed to talk about inflation and the health situation. “The duration of the pandemic has had an important impact on the adaptation of the consumer to health conditions as well as to purchases,” he said.
It refers to the change in consumption patterns that favored online purchases, parcel services or teleworking and the greater relevance of the Internet for daily life.
The lifting of the ENIGH will help us to confirm if these changes have become sufficiently representative to modify the weights of the goods and services that are part of the inflation measurement, he said.
Clearly the shock of the pandemic in consumption is not incorporated in the composition of the price index that follows a methodology of fixed weights.
Santaella stressed that there has been a great discussion around the world about how much consumption patterns were modified by the pandemic.
If it is a matter of a few months, there is no point in changing the weights. But the duration of the pandemic has been longer than what had been calculated, and with the partial reopening, the consumption trend that we had prior to the shock caused by the pandemic has not recovered.
He admits that a good part of the inflation that we are perceiving in Mexico as in the rest of the world is imported, since it responds to the prices of commodities such as oil.
But he accepts that many producers and sellers are relying on these increases to pass them on to the final consumer.