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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Mexico Central Bank Cuts Growth Forecast as U.S. Industry Stalls

3/3/16 Bloomberg 

Mexico’s central bank cut its 2016 growth forecast for the third time, saying slower U.S. industrial activity will hurt demand for the nation’s goods.

Gross domestic product will increase 2 percent to 3 percent this year, compared with the previous estimate of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent, the bank said in its quarterly inflation report published Thursday on its website. Inflation will quicken to slightly above the 3 percent target in the second and third quarters before ending 2016 near 3 percent, policy makers said.

The central bank, led by Governor Agustin Carstens, surprised investors on Feb. 17 by raising the nation’s key interest rate half a point to 3.75 percent and introducing discretionary dollar sales in an effort to head off a rise in inflation expectations stemming from a weak peso. Since the measures were announced, the peso has appreciated the most among major currencies from a record low as economists expect the benchmark rate to rise even further this year.

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US dollars

Bank of Mexico Sold $2 Billion Last Week to Boost Peso

2/23/16 Nazdaq

US dollars

MEXICO CITY—The Bank of Mexico said Tuesday it sold $2 billion in U.S. dollars on the foreign-exchange market last week to support the peso.

The country’s foreign-exchange commission, which includes central-bank and Finance Ministry officials, last week approved direct intervention in the currency markets to help lift the peso. Officials say the peso’s weakness isn’t justified by the country’s solid economic fundamentals.

The switch from daily dollar auctions by the central bank to unannounced dollar sales was accompanied by other measures including a surprise interest-rate increase by the Bank of Mexico and plans to cut government spending this year by 0.7% of gross domestic product.

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Mexico Economy Expanded 2.5% in Fourth Quarter on Consumption

2/23/16 Bloomberg

Mexico’s economy in the fourth quarter expanded in line with a preliminary report published last month as domestic consumption rebounded amid record-low inflation.

Gross domestic product rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier, according to final figures released by the national statistics institute Tuesday. From the previous quarter, GDP advanced 0.5 percent. Full year growth accelerated to 2.5 percent from 2.3 percent in 2014.

Mexicans had more money in their pockets last year after the inflation rate fell to the lowest in almost half a century. As a result, consumer spending remained resilient amid falling oil prices and stagnant manufacturing expansion in the U.S., the nation’s main trade partner. Mexico has been a bright spot for growth compared with much of Latin America, with GDP forecast to expand 2.6 percent this year, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg, compared with an estimate for a 0.6 percent contraction in the region.

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