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    Mexicans Turn to Pawnshops as Economic Recovery Slows

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    Residents in Mexico City are forced to pawn their treasured belongings. Mexico is slowly recovering from economic crisis and many are having a difficult time making ends meet.

    Even though the worst of Mexico’s economic crisis appears to be over, millions of Mexicans are still queuing up at pawnshops to hock their valuables for a little more ready cash.

    [Jonatan Noyola, Resident]:
    "I'm going to pawn my jewelry in order to pay for public transport and food. The situation is very bad and puts me in the embarrassing position of having to come here."

    People come to the country’s largest chain of pawnshops to make cash from selling jewelry, cars, paintings, electrical appliances and even exotic objects.

    Pawning here also helps Mexicans affected by the economic crisis in other countries.

    [Alberto Mendez, Pawnshop Customer and American Resident]:
    "It's one of the fastest financial resources available because it's difficult to get money. The economic crisis everywhere is critical."

    Official forecasts are for a slowdown in growth to about 4 percent in 2011. And sources say Mexico's drug war could weigh on growth and investment.

    Mexico's weak economy means people can't afford to go without work. And the government estimates about 20 percent of the country's 112 million residents do not have enough money to eat properly.

    Many people complain that their salaries are eaten up by inflation.

    The culture of pawning was brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquistadors.