U.S. Judge Says Wal-Mart Must Face Mexican-Bribe Claims

October 1, 2014

10/01/14 Bloomberg

Photo by Flikr user elmadaWal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) was ordered by a federal judge in Arkansas to face a pension fund’s claims the retailer defrauded shareholders by concealing corruption tied to bribes allegedly paid by officials of its Mexican unit. U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Fayetteville rejected Wal-Mart’s bid to throw out the Michigan-based fund’s lawsuit accusing it of making misleading statements to regulators about claims it paid bribes to facilitate Mexican real-estate deals. The world’s largest retailer has said it’s spent $439 million since 2012 in connection with investigations into allegations that employees paid bribes in Mexico, China, India and Brazil. Both U.S. and Mexican prosecutors have said they are probing whether executives of Wal-Mart’s Mexican unit were paying off local officials to clear the way for construction of new stores and warehouses.

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Carstens Sees Slower Mexico Inflation as Gasoline Gains Ease

October 1, 2014

09/30/14 Bloomberg

finance-market_dataMexico’s central bank has done a “good job” in helping guide the economy and the inflation rate will probably near its 3 percent target toward the middle of next year, Governor Agustin Carstens said. A change in the way gasoline prices are fixed will help curb the rise in broader consumer costs, Carstens said in an interview with El Financiero-Bloomberg TV, according to a transcript. Favorable comparisons with inflation this year, when the nation implemented a tax increase, will also help lower the annual rate starting in January, he said. Stable inflation expectations have allowed policy makers to lower interest rates to boost the economy in the absence of pressures on core inflation, which excludes farm and energy costs, Carstens said. Policy makers cut borrowing costs 1.5 percentage points in a 15-month period to 3 percent, the lowest in Latin America, to revive an economy that struggled to bounce back from its weakest expansion since 2009.

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Mexico’s Cemex says gets bank loan for $1.35 bln to refinance debt

September 30, 2014

09/30/14 Reuters

CEMEX_altaMexican cement company Cemex said on Tuesday it had inked a new credit agreement with nine banks worth $1.35 bln, the proceeeds of which will be used to refinance debt. Cemex, which has grappled with a heavy debt burden and cost-cutting since the global downturn, said in a statement the agreement had an average 4 year-term, with equal semi-annual principal payments of 20 percent.

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Volatility likely in Mexico with rising U.S. rates: Carstens

September 30, 2014

09/30/14 Reuters

finance-market_dataA gradual rise in interest rates in the United States is likely to generate some market volatility in Mexico, but the fundamentals of Latin America’s no. 2 economy are sound, Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens was quoted as saying on Tuesday. “At the end of the day, the increase in interest rates will lead to a readjustment of portfolios, which in this readjustment process could cause volatility,” Carstens told Mexican financial daily El Financiero in an interview. “Certainly we’re going to have a certain amount of volatility, nevertheless … the macroeconomic fundamentals in Mexico are good,” he added.

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Mexico’s Peso Declines to Weakest Since February on Fed Concern

September 30, 2014

09/29/14 Bloomberg

financeMexico’s peso dropped to its lowest in almost eight months as concern the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next year overshadowed optimism that changes in the Latin American nation’s energy laws will boost growth. The currency fell 0.4 percent to 13.4990 per U.S. dollar at 1:26 p.m. in Mexico City, the weakest on a closing basis since Feb. 3. The peso has lost 3.9 percent since June, which would mark the biggest quarterly decline since June 2013. “The Fed trumps all,” Eduardo Suarez, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia, said in a telephone interview from Toronto. “There’s a general risk-off movement.”

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Mexico Seeks 57 Missing After Weekend Violence

September 30, 2014

09/29/14 The New York Times

guerreroAuthorities were searching Monday for 57 students reported missing after weekend violence left at least six people dead and 25 wounded in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Twenty-two police officers from the city of Iguala were detained in connection with the incidents, Guerrero state prosecutor Inaky Blanco said. He said they denied responsibility but several had been identified by students. Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez and his public safety secretary were being summoned to appear before authorities, Blanco added. He said military and state authorities were participating in the search for the students from the Ayotzinapa Superior normal school.

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Mexico detains gang accused of $2.2 mln in monthly crude oil theft

September 30, 2014

09/29/14 Reuters

energy - oil barrelsMexico arrested five members of a gang suspected of stealing more than 4 million liters (25,200 barrels) of crude oil per month, the government said on Monday, which amounts to at least $2.2 million at current Mexican crude prices. Tomas Zeron, head of the attorney general’s criminal investigations unit, told reporters that among the detainees is the gang’s leader, a businessman in the state of Guanajuato who held a 2011 gasoline distribution concession from state oil company Pemex.

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