A Victim of Trump (and Fundamentals), the Peso Falls

11/14/2016 Forbes.com, Mexico Institute Blog

By Viridiana Rios, Global Fellow, Mexico Institute

pesoI write today as a middle class Mexican whose savings lost 10 percent of their value when American voters elected a leader who pledged to renegotiate NAFTA and tax us to pay for a wall. As a result of the election and other factors, the Mexican peso has overtaken the Argentine peso and the South African Rand to become the emerging markets 2016 worst performer.

The Mexican Peso was a barometer for the presidential campaign. It lost 10 percent of its value when Clinton lost, 1.9 percent in the week after the FBI reignited Clinton’s email controversy, and hit its historical low in the days following the election as speculation turned to the potential impact of Trump’s first months in office. The peso spiked 1.3 percent in less than an hour during the first presidential debate, and when Trump’s lewd conversation about women broke, it gained 2.2 percent.

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Headlines from Mexico

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1. On Saturday, October 29, Mexico City hosted its first ever Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) parade. The celebration dates back to Aztec and pre-Columbian times. It’s a celebration of life and teaches people not to be afraid of death. The festival’s also an opportunity to honor the dead.  The idea for the parade was born out of the imagination of a scriptwriter for the James Bond movie Spectre ; more than 250,000 people attended the parade.

Read more: El Universal, Excelsior, La Jornada, Animal Político

2. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruiz Massieu asserted, this Thursday at the Mexican Senate, that she was aware of the decision to invite the Republican candidate Donald Trump to meet President Enrique Peña Nieto in Los Pinos. Ruiz Massieu responded that she believed that the dialogue with the Republican candidate was necessary given his derogatory comments and limited knowledge of Mexico. The majority of the Senate vocally criticized this decision and question Ruiz Massieu’s role that was previously unclear. The Senators also asked the Secretary what was the strategy if Trump won the elections on Tuesday to which she replied that the Mexican government will engage with the President elect the night of election no matter the result.

Read more: Expansión, Proceso, El Universal, Milenio, Aristegui Noticias

3. The volatility of the peso in response to the U.S. elections has cause dthe peso to fall to an all-time price of $19.50 this Tuesday as Trump’s poll numbers increased. This a 1.8% from the price at which it had closed the day before. The Mexican Stock Exchange also suffered a shock with a fall of 1.47%. On Thursday, Carstens, the Central Bank Governor, announced that the Bank of Mexico has already come up with a contingency plan that has been discussed with Meade, the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, in the event that Donald Trump given that the peso could fall by almost 10% in a matter of weeks if he wins.

Read more: Excelsior, El Universal, El Financiero, Expansión, La Jornada

4. This week, the leader of the National Action Party, Ricardo Anaya came under strong criticism about his personal finances. It was published that Anaya’s family lives in Atlanta, Georgia and that yearly expenses to cover the standard of living of his family and the constant travelling the party leader takes to visit them, amounts to up to 4.5 million pesos.  Anaya responded to criticism affirming that his family is his priority and that having them in the U.S. is a temporary investing that prioritizes the future of his children. He also announced that all these expenses had been publicly declared through the 3 de 3 declaration and denied that any of these expenses come from party funds or that his role as party leader is compromised by the constant travelling.  Party leaders  have still been critical, the president of the PRI, claims that the rent that Anaya receives from the property he owns is not in his declaration and Alejandra Barrales, President of PRD, reiterated that Anaya needs to justify where the funds come from.

Read more: Milenio, El Universal, Excelsior, Animal Político 

Trump Trouble Lifts Mexico’s Peso as China’s Yuan Hits a 6-Year Low

10/10/16 Fortune

Pesos by Flickr user Aleiex
Pesos by Flickr user Aleiex

The Mexican peso surged to a one-month high while the Chinese yuan briefly spooked markets.

The Mexican peso surged to a one-month high on Monday as Republican Donald Trump’s chances of clinching the U.S. presidency appeared to have ebbed further, whileChina‘s yuan briefly spooked markets by hitting a six-year low.

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Explaining Mexico’s Consumer Paradox

08/24/16 The Huffington Post 

Pesos by Flickr user AleiexThe disassociation between consumer confidence and consumer spending habits over the past two years has been one of the Mexico’s most interesting economic puzzles. The economy remains stuck in a three-year slowdown (GDP contracted in the second quarter by a sequential 0.3%), tighter fiscal and monetary conditions are in place as a result of low oil prices and a weak peso, and the string of corruption and impunity scandals surrounding the political class (and particularly the ruling PRI) appears to have no end in sight, even despite the passage of anti-corruption legislation.

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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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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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Mexican central bank holds rates steady, cites peso rally

3/18/16 Reuters

banco de mexicoMexico’s central bank held borrowing costs steady on Friday, noting that measures taken by financial authorities had helped spur a peso rally.

The Banco de Mexico left its key rate at 3.75 percent, as expected by all 15 analysts surveyed by Reuters this week. In February, the central bank surprised markets with a rate hike aimed at supporting the battered Mexican currency.

The peso has gained about 9 percent since the central bank announced its half-percentage-point hike on Feb. 17 and intervened directly in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2009.

The central bank said actions by financial authorities had “broken a negative trend in the price of the national currency, which had displayed an overreaction to an adverse external environment” early this year.

A global rally in riskier assets had also helped lift the peso against the U.S. dollar, the central bank said.

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