Short Sellers Pile Into Mexico as It Lands in U.S. Crossfire

08/01/16 Bloomberg

An exchange-traded fund focused on the Latin American nation’s shares has the most bearish bets of any country, while hedge funds including Finisterre Capital in London are pouring into credit-default insurance on Mexican bonds. Societe Generale SA projects the peso will keep underperforming emerging-market peers as the country comes under attack in one of the most rancorous U.S. election campaigns in memory.

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Fitch: Mexico Better Than Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina…

06/29/16 Forbes 

Chichen_Itza_Temple_of_Kukulcan_SerpentWhen it comes to managing its debt, Mexico is better than Brazil, basket case Venezuela and Argentina, even as its new government is in the process of resuscitating the economy.

On Thursday, Fitch Ratings reaffirmed Mexico’s investment grade status of BBB+, a credit rating Brazil lost last year after getting it in 2008.

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Mexico’s star wanes as reforms underwhelm, Brazil rises

07/13/16 Reuters

Flag-Pins-Mexico-BrazilForeign investors in Latin America are warming to Brazil as a promising turnaround bet while souring on Mexico and its landmark energy reform that has yet to deliver.

Brazil has yet to recover from its worst recession in decades, inflation and interest rates remain among the highest in the region and it is saddled with a bloated public sector. In contrast, Mexico’s economy is growing at around 2 percent, has lower fiscal deficits and sounder public finances.

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Anger Management and Gun Control? New Ways to Reduce Violence in Latin America

3/29/16 Americas Quarterly

By Viridiana Rios, Mexico Institute Global Fellow

Reducing violence is not about controlling violent neighborhoods or even about controlling violent people. It is about inducing people to control themselves. That’s it. The best policing comes when no police are required.

The question is how to achieve this in Latin America, the most violent region in the world and home to countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela, each with homicide rates similar to war zones.

The answer may be unsettling. Many instances of large decreases in homicide rates in Latin America can be traced not to large-scale judicial or police reforms, but to changes in the behavior of gang members as a result of truces with their rivals. Homicides go down when rival drug gangs, in an effort to improve their business conditions, agree to reduce violence.

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Mexican economic growth hits five-month high in January

3/30/16 Reuters

mexican pesosMexico’s economy grew by 0.6 percent in January from December in seasonally adjusted terms, the fastest pace in five months, figures from the national statistics agency showed on Tuesday.

Growth was driven by a pickup in industrial activity, which advanced by 1.2 percent from the previous month, while the service sector expanded by 0.2 percent, the figures showed.

Compared with the same month a year earlier, Latin America’s second biggest economy grew by 2.3 percent, in unadjusted terms. That was a tenth of a point faster than the same month in 2015.

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Mexico’s Busiest M&A Suitor Has a Billion Euros for Fresh Deals

3/22/16 Bloomberg 

Coca-Cola_Femsa_LogoFomento Economico Mexicano SAB bought more companies than any other in Mexico last year while expanding its burgeoning pharmacy business. Now it’s got a billion euros ($1.1 billion) of fresh ammunition.

That’s likely to translate into new acquisitions as the company looks to replicate its success in building Latin America’s largest convenience-store chain and biggest Coca-Cola bottler, according to Corp. Actinver SAB. One possible target: some of Mexico’s 11,000 gas stations. Femsa’s already adding service stations and the industry is on the verge of transformation since the nation junked a state oil monopoly dating back to 1938.

Femsa and its bottling unit, Coca-Cola Femsa SAB, have completed 19 deals worth a total $6.2 billion in the last five years, the most in Latin America among convenience-store, pharmacy or non-alcoholic beverage companies. Femsa’s sale of euro-denominated debt last week reloads the war chest after it bought drug-store chains last year, including Chile’s Farmacias Cruz Verde SA.

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Mexican economy slows in fourth quarter as industry sinks

2/24/16 Reuters

pemex2Mexican growth slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter as industry contracted by the most in over two years despite steady services expansion, data showed on Tuesday.

The economy MXGDPQ=ECI grew by about 0.5 percent from the prior quarter, below the 0.8 percent rate in the third quarter and expectations of 0.6 percent from analysts in a Reuters poll.

The industrial sector, which has been hit by sinking oil prices and production at state oil giant Pemex [PEMX.UL], fell 0.4 percent compared to the third quarter, its biggest drop since the second quarter of 2013.

Services, which buoyed growth last year, grew by 0.9 percent, slightly below the 1 percent pace of expansion in the third quarter.

Latin America’s No. 2 economy suffered last year from uneven U.S. demand for its exports and recent weakness in U.S. factory output could further drag on Mexico.

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