UPDATE 2-Mexico 2017 budget cuts to squeeze Pemex, primary surplus eyed

jueves 8 de septiembre de 2016 22:59 GYT

(Writes through with context, details on cuts)

By Jean Luis Arce and Alexandra Alper

MEXICO CITY, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Mexico's government on Thursday set out plans for a bigger-than-anticipated cut in public spending in 2017, with struggling state oil company Pemex earmarked for a 100 billion peso ($5.36 billion) reduction in funding.

New Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said the budget foresaw planned spending cuts of 239.7 billion pesos ($12.83 billion), targeting a primary surplus of 0.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. It would be the first such surplus since 2008.

Of the cuts, 100 billion pesos fall on Pemex, which is already facing a funding squeeze and has racked up multi-billion dollar losses for years. Since the government ended its oil and gas monopoly nearly three years ago, Pemex has faced stiff competition from the private sector.

"Pemex is making the biggest contribution to the cuts," Meade said, presenting the budget proposal to Congress a day after he was sworn in as finance minister following the resignation of Luis Videgaray.

In late 2013, the government threw open the industry to private capital to reverse a protracted slide in oil production, but falling crude prices have undermined those efforts.

Currently running at some 2.16 million barrels per day (bpd), Mexican oil production will slip to an average of 1.928 million bpd in 2017, the budget forecasts. The last time Mexican crude output fell below 2 million bpd was in 1980.

Still, the budget does foresee changes aimed at easing Pemex's heavy tax load.   Continuación...