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A difficult week for Mexican President

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The United States’ decision to halt avocado shipments from a violent Mexican state capped a tough week for President Manuel Lopez Obrador. His approval rating fell unexpectedly in a tracking poll published on Sunday.

Lopez Obrador, whose still-strong popularity has been more resilient than that of most global leaders, has this month become embroiled in a verbal spat with a critical journalist over his reporting on one of the president’s sons’ lifestyle.

On Friday, just a day after authorities confirmed the fifth killing of a media professional in Mexico this year, the president devoted a portion of his daily news conference to criticizing journalist Carlos Loret de Mola – and naming his salary. The poll, released on Sunday, shows Lopez Obrador with a 61.2 percent approval rating, 0.6 percentage points lower than on Saturday and 1.5 points lower than a week ago.

Lopez Obrador claims Loret is part of the entrenched interests opposing his project to make Mexico a more just society. However, his single outing of the journalist at a time of increased sensitivity about the profession has sparked concern.

Loret claimed that the revelations had put him in danger. Lopez Obrador was upset because reporting on the son’s ostensibly lavish lifestyle clashed with the president’s image of personal austerity.

Michoacan Governor Alfredo Ramirez promised to have the suspension lifted as soon as possible. Mexican media reported that he had agreed to meet with U.S. officials in the coming days.

Oil prices rose to their highest level in more than seven years on Monday, as investors worried that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would trigger U.S. and European sanctions, disrupting exports from the world’s top producer in an already tight market.

Brent crude futures were at $95.65 a barrel, up to $1.21, or 1.3 percent, after reaching a high of $96.16 earlier in the day, the highest since October 2014.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude in the United States rose $1.28, or 1.4 percent, to $94.38 per barrel, hovering near the session high of $94.94, the highest since September 2014.

The United States’ comments about an impending Russian attack on Ukraine have jolted global financial markets.

Investors are also keeping an eye on talks between the US and Iran to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal.

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