Mexico: Peso recovers from Trump-induced tumble
June 8, 2017
The Mexican peso achieved the unthinkable in early June as it recovered all the ground lost against the U.S. dollar following President Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November. On 7 June, the peso strengthened to 18.23 per USD, the highest reading since mid-August and just above the peso’s level before the U.S. election on 9 November. The currency was 4.1% higher compared to the same day a month earlier and, on an annual basis, the peso gained 12.1% of its value against the greenback.
The value of the peso had plummeted to a record low in the aftermath of the election and continued to slide until Trump’s inauguration in mid-January, but unexpectedly steadily appreciated against the dollar thereafter.
The Mexican currency performed especially well at the start of June. The peso first rallied on 5 June after Mexico’s ruling party PRI forged ahead in the keystone election for governor of the state of Mexico. In so doing, the party cleared a relevant hurdle since polls had predicted a tight race against the main opposition party Morena. On 6 June, the peso got a further lift as expectations for a trade war faded following an agreement between Mexican and U.S. authorities to limit Mexican sugar imports into its northern neighbor. This is expected to set the tone for upcoming talks on the renegotiation of NAFTA.
However, there is reason to think June’s rally was overdone. Even if the economy is performing better than at first expected, several rounds of fiscal and monetary tightening are starting to be felt. Moreover, although the tone may have softened since Trump took office, uncertainty remains high regarding the U.S. administration’s stance on trade policy. Finally, the feeble economic backdrop ahead of next year’s presidential election could still weigh on PRI’s chances of emerging victorious, and a Morena victory would most likely cause the peso to tumble.
Author: David Ampudia, Economist