Mexico’s Carstens warns on protectionism

08/29/16 Financial Times 

Agustin_CarstensProtectionist trends in leading economies are threatening the world’s already laggardly growth potential, the head of Mexico’s central bank has warned.

Agustín Carstens, the governor of the Bank of Mexico, said that anti-globalisation demands were not confined to the US, where Donald Trump has been vowing to rip up trade deals, but were visible across a range of G20 countries.

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Transcript: WSJ’s Interview with Bank of Mexico Governor Agustín Carstens

07/11/16 The Wall Street Journal

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Agustin Carstens

Bank of Mexico Governor Agustín Carstens spoke with Juan Montes, David Luhnow and Anthony Harrup of The Wall Street Journal at the central bank’s headquarters in Mexico City on Friday, July 8, 2016.

He commented on the world economy in the wake of Brexit and the reasons why the Bank of Mexico opted for a bigger-than-expected half-percentage-point interest-rate increase on June 30.

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Bank of Mexico Sticks to 2016 Growth Outlook, Trims 2017 Forecast

5/26/16 Wall Street Journal 

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MEXICO CITY—The Bank of Mexico said Wednesday that it still expects the country’s economy to grow between 2% and 3% this year, but lowered its growth forecast slightly for 2017.

In its quarterly inflation report, the central bank forecast gross domestic product would expand between 2.3% and 3.3% in 2017, less than its previous estimate of 2.5% to 3.5%. The economy grew 2.5% in 2015 and expanded 2.6% in the first quarter of this year.

The main reason for the 2017 change is the lower outlook for U.S. industrial production, which is a driver of Mexican output, Bank of Mexico Gov. Agustín Carstens said at a news conference.

Growth could be better if private consumption in Mexico continues to gain strength, or the economy sees favorable effects from overhauls in areas such as energy, telecommunications and the financial sector. On the other hand, a slowdown in the global economy, and particularly the U.S., and more complex international financial conditions restricting investment could lead to lower growth than expected, the bank said.

The central bank still expects the inflation rate, currently at 2.5%, to remain below its 3% target in coming months, possibly rising temporarily above that level toward the end of the year.

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Mexico GDP Beats Forecasts on Consumer Spending; Peso Rises

4/29/16 Bloomberg Business

pesoMexico’s economy expanded more than analysts forecast for the third time in four quarters as strength in domestic consumption offset weak exports and a drop in oil output. The peso extended its gain, rallying to the strongest level in more than four months.

Gross domestic product rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to preliminary figures released by the national statistics institute Friday. That compared with the 2.4 percent median forecast of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. From the previous quarter, GDP expanded 0.8 percent. The institute will release final GDP figures May 20.

Mexican consumers are spending more as inflation holds near a record low and remittances rise amid weakness in the peso. The country has been a bright spot for growth compared with some Latin American economies such as Brazil, and in an interview last week, central bank Governor Agustin Carstens said it may get even better as factors that have held back the expansion, such as weak exports, begin supporting growth.

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Mexico cenbank slams Trump remittance plan as rights violation

4/13/16 Reuters

380px-Agustin_CarstensU.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to force Mexico to pay for a border wall by threatening to block remittances from illegal immigrants would be a major violation of Mexicans’ rights, Mexico’s central bank governor said on Tuesday.

The Republican candidate said last week that if elected in November, he would use a U.S. anti-terrorism law to cut off such money transfers unless Mexico made a one-time payment of $5 billion to $10 billion for the wall.

Mexican Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens, speaking in Mexico’s Congress, dismissed the idea.

“The remittances are the property of the people that make them and they have every right to be able to carry out international transfers,” Carstens told reporters. “So it would be a serious violation of the property rights of our fellow citizens abroad and this measure would be completely unjust.”

The U.S. remittances are worth roughly $25 billion per year, or close to 2 percent of Mexican gross domestic product.

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BofA Calls Out Aggressive Swaps Traders as Mexico Growth Slows

4/8/16 Bloomberg

bank of americaTo Bank of America Corp., traders speculating on the direction of interest rates in Mexico may be underestimating the worsening outlook for the economy.

That’s why Ezequiel Aguirre, a strategist at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, is telling clients to bet against them in the swaps market. He says the central bank will only raise borrowing costs by a quarter-point by year-end, half the increase predicted by traders.

Just last week, Mexico cut its growth forecast for 2017 and announced plans to slash spending by an estimated 175 billion pesos ($9.79 billion) after manufacturing exports slowed and lower oil prices crimped revenue. The central bank, led by Governor Agustin Carstens, unexpectedly lifted the key rate by 0.5 percentage point to 3.75 percent in February as part of coordinated government moves aimed at shoring up the peso. The currency has rebounded 6.5 percent since then, easing concern that a weak peso will fan inflation in Latin America’s second-biggest economy.

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Mexico central bank seen holding steady after peso rally

3/18/16 Reuters

Mexican pesoMexico’s central bank is expected to hold borrowing costs steady on Friday after a rally in the peso dampened concerns that currency weakness will fan inflation higher.

All 15 analysts surveyed this week by Reuters said they expect the central bank to hold its key lending rate at 3.75 percent following a surprise hike in February that was aimed at supporting the battered peso.

The Mexican currency has rallied about 9 percent since the central bank delivered its half-percentage-point hike on Feb. 17 and intervened directly in the foreign exchange market for the first time since the 2009 financial crisis.

A global rally in riskier assets has helped lift the peso against the U.S. dollar. A statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday suggested it will likely take longer to raise rates than some had recently thought.

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