FiNETIK – Asia and Latin America – Market News Network

Asia and Latin America News Network focusing on Financial Markets, Energy, Environment, Commodity and Risk, Trading and Data Management

Mexico, The Emerging Latin American Powerhouse

TABB Forum:  For the past few years, coverage of Mexico in the U.S. media has largely been dominated by stories of violence stemming from the country’s drug cartels. Lately though, the media have increasingly been turning their attention to the story of Mexico’s booming economy, and new president Enrique Peña Nieto’s bold moves to radically reshape it. This robust growth in Mexico looks set to continue for some time, which has led the Financial Times to label Mexico as the “Aztec Tiger.”1

MexDer, the nation’s only futures exchange, has been taking steps to ensure that it grows apace with the nation’s economy by making substantial upgrades to its matching engine, while continuing to make it easier for foreign investors to access the market. As a result of these changes, as of yesterday, April 14, north-to-south routing to MexDer via CME Group’s Globex® platform is available on Trading Technologies. You can read the details in the news release that we published today and on  TradingTechnology website.

The Aztec Tiger 

A perfect storm of positive influences is coming together to make Mexico one of the world’s emerging economic powerhouses. Mexico has a young and growing population, low levels of government debt and low inflation. The country is developing into a leading exporter due in part to widespread implementation of new manufacturing processes, but also due to the fact that Mexico has free trade pacts with 44 countries—more than any other nation on earth.These forces have combined to make Mexico’s economy one of the few bright spots in a global economy still working off the hangover resulting from the credit bubble. Mexico’s economy grew at around four percent in 2012, quadruple the growth rate of Latin America’s largest economy, Brazil.2 The Mexican peso hit a 19-month high against the U.S. dollar in March, and has outpaced 16 other major world currencies over the last month.3

With its growth track record and favorable conditions for growth to continue, a Nomura Equity Research report in July 2012 predicted that Mexico would overtake Brazil to become the largest Latin American economy within the next decade.4 In addition, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have indicated that in the near future, they are likely to upgrade Mexico’s debt, which is already investment grade.5

A Pact for Mexico, An Open Door for Growth

Much of the optimism for Mexico’s future can be traced back to its new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. He hails from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico uninterrupted for 71 years and was identified with corruption and inefficient bureaucracy. That being said, President Nieto is quickly making himself known as a risk taker, willing to take on fights in which none of his predecessors seemed willing to engage.

Within two days of his swearing-in last December, Nieto’s PRI signed a “Pact for Mexico”6 with the opposition National Action Party (PAN). This pact outlines 95 proposals to modernize and liberalize Mexico’s economy. Nieto began by taking on the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, by announcing plans to foster competition in the telecommunication and television industries, which are currently dominated by monopolies. Later this year, Nieto is expected to propose his most significant change, opening up Mexico’s energy market and allowing the state-run oil concern Pemex to work with the world’s largest oil companies. It’s expected that these reforms, once enacted, will increase Mexico’s GDP growth from four percent to six percent a year.7

Making MoNeT

In parallel, MexDer and the Mexican government have done quite a bit to attract foreign investors, and to make it easy for them to access the market. Perhaps one of the most significant changes has been the development of the MoNeT matching engine, which went live on Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (BMV), the equities segment, last fall.

The MoNeT matching engine was designed to attract high-frequency traders, mainly from the U.S. and Europe. It boasts internal latencies of 90 microseconds, which is faster than the 110 microseconds of NASDAQ or 125 microseconds at the London Stock Exchange.8 BMV volumes have increased 30 percent to 40 percent since the launch of the new matching engine.9For international traders and investors, accessing MexDer is straightforward. The north-to-south routing available via CME Globex allows any TT customer with an existing CME infrastructure to route orders to MexDer’s matching engine. MexDer is also accessible now in TT’s MultiBroker environment, which is currently available in beta. Additional information regarding how CME users can access MexDer is posted on the CME website.There are a number of other reasons why doing business in Mexico is easier than most other Latin American countries. Unlike Brazil, there is no withholding tax of any kind on foreign investment. The Mexican peso is a freely traded and easily convertible currency, and MexDer’s clearing house, Asigna, accepts U.S. dollar-denominated collateral.

La Oportunidad Está En Todas Partes

Owing to the fact that the U.S. does $1.5 billion per day in trade with Mexico,10 the Mexican markets are, predictably, highly correlated with America’s. North-to-south customers trading MexDer via Globex have access to a number of financial futures that allow for arbitrage opportunities against their American counterparts.

MexDer lists the IPC index of the BMV, which in general tracks closely to the S&P 500. The full Mexican yield curve is available on MexDer, from one-month bills to 30-year bonds, and it converges with the U.S. yield curve. Finally, MexDer lists a Mexican peso/U.S. dollar FX future, one of the 20 biggest FX futures contracts in the world by volume, which sets up arbitrage opportunities with the CME’s equally liquid peso/U.S. dollar future. In a recent MarketsWiki interview, MexDer CEO Jorge Alegria indicated that going forward, the exchange would likely look to list commodity futures linked to similar contracts listed on CME Group.

BMV IPC vs. S&P 500
Chart obtained from Yahoo! Finance

The ascent of the Aztec Tiger is no sure thing. There is always the danger of President Nieto’s PRI party losing its appetite for reform and returning to its old ways. There’s the chance that the hiccups in the U.S. economic recovery may impact Mexico, given that 30 percent of the Mexican economy is tied to U.S. exports. There may even be signs that Mexico’s economy is stalling already, which led the central bank to reduce interest rates for the first time since March 2009. Either way, TT users now have the ability to participate in one of today’s most interesting markets.

1 Thomson, Adam. “Mexico: Aztec tiger.” Financial Times. January 30, 2013.
2 Rathbone, John-Paul. “Mexico’s reform plan lifts hopes for greater prosperity.” Financial Times. March 20, 2013
3 Kwan Yuk, Pan. “Mexican peso hits 19 month high”. Financial Times. March 14, 2013.

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: Economy Continues Slowly to Our Targets – November 2010- IXE BANIF – Monthly Analysis

Mexican growth motors continue to balance out

Since last month, we have experienced a re-balancing of growth drivers, with improvement of local demand and a slow-down in exports, the main growth motor. Exports have reduced their YoY growth rate from the nearly 50% of the beginning of the year, although it remained at a high 21% in September. We expect this deceleration to continue until 2011.

Mexico – Monthly Allocation – November 2010

During October, we renewed our good expectations for growth of the Mexican economy with the release of statistics for September: a) Internal retail sales increased 4% YoY; b) consumer confidence grew 12% YoY; c) 780k new jobs created in the first nine months. Concerning job creation, this level was a record high for the same period and mainly due to the export industry. We maintain our expectation for the creation of 650k new jobs in 2010 (seasonally, there is job reduction at year-end) and 530k in 2011.

Despite these changes in export and local demand, we maintain our expectation of a 4.4% GDP growth for 2010 (while market consensus remain at 5%) and 3.7% for 2011. For our 2011 forecast, local demand still has to catch up, as we predict a further decline in exports.

For our November portfolio, we have added Femsa and increased the weight of Grupo Mexico from 15 to 20%. We have reduced the weight of Mexchem from 15 to 10% and withdrawn Soriana.

Mexican tidbits

Inflation remains under control, although the first data collected for October, indicating a 0.5% increase, was slightly above our and market expectations. We continue expecting 4.5% for 2010, with the belief that interest rates increase no earlier than October 2011, although the growth of inflation in the recent past may allow postponement to the beginning of 2012.

The Mexican Peso reduced its volatility in October, appreciating from the 12.6 P$/US$ at the beginning of the month. Our forecast is currently at 12.4 for the end of 2010 and 12.2 for the end of 2011.

Source: Banif – IXE, 05.11.2010

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Latin America, Mexico, News, Services, , , , , , , , ,

Nomura builds Latin American Foreign Exchange Sales and Trading Business

Nomura, the global investment bank, has expanded its Latin American Foreign Exchange coverage under the leadership of David Steck, Managing Director, Nomura Securities International, and newly-appointed Global Head of FX Sales. Liran Blum has been appointed Head of FX and Local Markets Americas Trading and Aloisio Teles has been appointed Head of FX LatAm Trading.

In his newly created position, David Steck will define and implement a global client strategy in FX and strengthen the firm’s global footprint. In the last 13 months Steck and his regional and global partners have launched Nomura’s FX Americas operations, which now employ more than 50 front office staff providing full G10 and Emerging Markets capabilities to a growing client base. Prior to joining Nomura, Steck spent 11 years at Deutsche Bank. Steck reports locally to Peter Hornick, Head of Fixed Income Sales Americas, and globally to Richard Gladwin, Global Head of Foreign Exchange and Commodities.

To build upon Nomura’s success to date in growing the Americas platform, Blum has been appointed Head of FX and Local Markets Americas Trading. Prior to joining Nomura in June 2009, Blum worked for SAC Capital Advisors as a portfolio manager and Lehman Brothers. Blum reports locally to Charlie Spero and Jeff Michaels, Joint Heads of Fixed Income and globally to Richard Gladwin.

To ensure continued progress in building Nomura’s Latin American business, Teles has been appointed Head of FX LatAm Trading. Prior to joining the firm in June 2009, Teles worked for SAC Capital Advisors as a portfolio manager focused on emerging markets. His prior experience also included working at Lehman Brothers and Banco Bozano Simonsen in Rio de Janeiro where he traded LatAm local market instruments. Teles’s extensive LatAm market knowledge, relationships and trading capabilities make him uniquely qualified to lead the effort in expanding Nomura’s local markets trading business.

Nomura now has an 8 person team trading Latin American Foreign Exchange focused on Brazil, Mexico and the Andean countries, supported by 4 salespeople and a 4 person strategy team lead by Tony Volpon, Nomura’s Brazil strategist. Nomura has an extensive Latin American product suite covering the currencies of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Its products include spot, forward and non-deliverable forwards, vanilla and exotic options, cross currency and interest rate swaps, Brazil on-shore futures, Brazil and Mexico sovereign bonds and structured products.

Source: Mondo Visione, 03.11.2011

Filed under: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, News, Peru, , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: Economy Steady in Low Gear – October 2010- IXE BANIF – Monthly Analysis

Motors of Mexican growth start balancing out

As we mentioned last month, the Mexican economy has slowed down. Our forecasts for GDP growth remain unchanged at 4.4% and 3.7% for 2010 and 2011, respectively, in line with Government expectations (of 4.5% and 3.8%). We believe that the economy will not slow down further and that export and local demand will become more equitable. While the slower growth of the US economy reduces the prospects for exports, local demand has started to improve, as seen by the 2Q10 YoY internal consumption growth of 4.8%.

Locally, the Mexican construction segment continues the weakest in the industrial sector, with manufacturing leading the economy. As local demand picks up, we foresee a change in consumption from non-durable to durable goods.

Mexico – Monthly Allocation – October 2010

A political discussion on the budget for 2011 will start in Congress in November. We believe that this is likely to bring volatility to the market, as it should affect the Mexican currency and local bonds. Prudent fiscal policies are likely to continue and we expect the government to propose a cut in fiscal deficit. We also believe that this proposal is already expected and, at least partially, priced in.

Mexican tidbits

Inflation is apparently under control, after positive signs that led the government to admit that its 5.25% target for the year is high and that it should converge to market consensus’ 4.5% (our forecast continues at 4.7%).

After the volatility of the Mexican Peso in August, we believe that the rally is likely to cease and our new expectations for the FX are of 12.4 (from 12) and 12.3 pesos per US dollar by the end of 2010 and 2011, respectively. We base this expectation on the belief that cyclical inflows other than exports, such as remittances (linked to US employment), tourism (linked to US consumer confidence) and foreign direct investments (linked to US private profits) are likely to remain weak.

For October, we have reduced the total number of names in our portfolio from 11 to 8. We have added Soriana and increased the weights of LABB (from 5 to 10%) and Mexchem (from 5 to 15%). We also have withdrawn Chedraui, Femsa and Televisa.

Source: Banif-IXE, 04.10.2010

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, FIX Connectivity, Latin America, Mexico, News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: Drifting Toward Troubled Waters – September 2010- IXE BANIF – Monthly Analysis

Slow US economy decreases Mexican expectations

The structure of the Mexican economy is unchanged when it comes to the breakdown between local and export markets, and we base our expectation for Mexican economic growth on both markets. We continue to expect a 4.4% GDP growth for 2010 (growths of 4.3%, 7.6%, 4.0% and 1.9% for each quarter, sequentially) while other, more aggressive houses, have reduced this from 5% to nearly 4%.

Despite the most recent reduction in 2H10 growth expectations, we maintain our figure in the belief that the local market will compensate for a likely weaker export scenario that heavily depends on the US economy.

We have assumed since last month that the US would grow at a lower than previously expected pace. Locally, the Mexican construction segment has been the weakest in the industrial sector, while manufacturing has led the economy. We expect export companies, which have been suffering from the weaker foreign market, to recover by year-end, although car exports have performed well even during these tougher times.

Mexican tidbits

Mexico’s inflation has been increasing and, from the current annualized 3.7%, we maintain our expectation of it reaching 4.7% by year-end. We believe that our expectation of interest rate hikes in 3Q11 might become market consensus soon.

The FX has moved negatively lately, after three months without definite direction. It has surpassed the P$13/US$ line, the worst level since the end of June. We still expect it to be at P$12 by year end but, if we do not see a downward movement over the next weeks, we might change this expectation to a P$12.25-12.35 range. We do not believe this potential change in the FX scenario would cause any change to Mexican exports, with the main driver here continuing to be the strength of the US economy (and demand).

For August, we have added Alsea and Femsa to our portfolio and increased the weights of America Movil (from 20% to 25%) and Walmex (from 10% to 15%). We also reduced the weights of GenomaLab and Geo (from 10% to 5%), and have withdrawn Cemex.

Read the full market analysis Mexico – Monthly Allocation – September 2010

Source: IXE-Banif, 01.09.2010

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Latin America, Mexico, News, Risk Management, , , , , , , ,

BM&F BOVESPA News June 2010

“Brazil Easy Investing” will allow foreign investors to order routing in their local currencies
BM&FBOVESPA and Chi-X Global are jointly developing an order routing software designed for the trading of Brazilian equities in foreign currencies.
Launch of five new Currency Futures Contracts in the BM&F segment for trading
Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Pound Sterling (GBP) and Mexican Peso (MXN) contacts are authorized for trading.
DMA trading reaches historic levels in the BM&F segment
Derivatives trading via Direct Market Access (DMA) set a new record in May, with 20,949,961 contracts traded in 3,040,357 trades. Other records were set during the same period.
Bidding Process for the selection of a manager for the new financial ETF
Interested financial entities must submit their proposals by no later than July 19th. The winning bidder will be the entity that provides the highest value commitment.
Important agreement to stimulate the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors
The partnership of BM&FBOVESPA and São José dos Campos Technology Park hopes to establish a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, through professional training.
Brazil elected as the most trustworthy country among the developing nations for doing business
A survey of investors from all over the world showed that they considered Brazil to be the developing country with the best corporative governance.
WFE Working Committee Meeting will be hosted by BM&FBOVESPA
BM&FBOVESPA will host the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) Working Committee on July, 1st and 2nd, in São Paulo. Main topic to be discussed will be “Sustainable Investment”
Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE) completes five years with enhancements to the next portfolio
The companies listed on ISE are recognized for their high level of commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
MARKET RESULTS – BM&F Segment May 2010
The derivatives market segment totaled 52,063,826 contracts and BRL3.57 trillion in volume. The average daily trading volume in the derivatives markets was 2,479,230.
The equities market segment reached a total volume of BRL152.93 billion, in 10.261.145 trades, setting a new record, with daily averages of BRL7.28 billion and 488,626 trades.

Source: BM&FBOVESPA, 30.06.2010

Filed under: BM&FBOVESPA, Brazil, Exchanges, Latin America, News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: Economic recovery slowly materializing – April 2010- IXE-BANIF Monthly Analysis

We are increasingly positive on the Mexican market, although we await further hard data to confirm our expectations. We see many indications of a recovery, which are already reflecting on the local stock market. However, we believe that the continuation of a positive news flow might support further appreciation.

We continue to base our portfolio strategy on specific catalysts for the companies we find attractive. First quarter results have already started to influence some of our choices. For April, we maintained the core of our March portfolio, with weight unchanged for America Movil, Cemex, Genomma LAB, Grupo Mexico, Mexichem and Walmex, which together account for 70% of our portfolio’s total weight. For the remaining 30%, the changes were the inclusion of Femsa, Penoles ICA and Tlevisa, a reduction in weight of ARA and the withdrawal of Autlan, Axtel and GEO.

Our estimated GDP may need another upward revision

Recent statements from the Finance Minister suggest that the Mexican economy might grow 5% in 2010, while the official government estimate remains at 4.2%. If hard data confirm this trend, we might find our own 4.1% growth estimate demanding a further upward revision, although we increased our figure just last month. Recently released statistics, such as the creation of new jobs, the reduction in the rate of unemployment to 5.3% from 5.9%, and industrial production growth, support this economic strength. Expectations are for local consumption to recover, and demand in the US for Mexican products has already begun increasing.

Additionally, data released for February show that vehicle sales grew nearly 100% YoY.

Expectations for interest rate and inflation remain unchanged

Expectations for interest rates, currently at 4.5% pa, continue unchanged, as we continue to foresee increases of 0.25% applied only in September and in October. This is in line with expectations for 2010’s inflation, which we continue to estimate at 4.94%. S

See detailed Detailed Market Analysis Report – April 2010

Source: IXE Banif, 01.04.2010

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: Eyes on the US economic recovery – February 2010 – IXE Banif – Market Analysis

Positive outlook, but depends on the US recovery

We expect stocks in Mexico to trade on the following drivers: i) US economic recovery, although we understand China is gaining more international importance at global level, but it ought to affect specific stocks (like commodities – i.e. GMexico); ii) Mexican Peso. We see a positive outlook for the currency, given the expected economic recovery this year and the government recent measures to increase its international reserves; iii) Government fiscal situation. On one hand, it is known that Mexico has an imbalance in the fiscal side, given the high dependence from oil revenues. On the other hand, we do not expect another sovereign debt rating downgrade and therefore stocks have already priced in this movement; and iv) Each company particular catalyst.

Link to US (now for the good)

We expect Mexico to confirm a strong retraction of the economy in 2009 (-7% YoY in ’09), due to the world crisis and specially the negative effect on the US economy. We believe the link to US that had a negative effect in Mexico in the past, now it should the opposite effect and help the economy to pick up. Remittances from Mexican workers living in US were affected by higher unemployment in the United States, but they should gradually improve throughout the year. We forecast Mexico to present a GDP growth of 2.9% YoY in 2010. Bad news for Mexican stocks could arise from higher interest rates in US, followed by higher rates in Mexico. We understand this movement might only come by the end of the 3Q10.

More stable Peso

Banxico, the Central Bank in Mexico, recently announced new measures to increase its international reserves, which would allow for a more stable Peso in the future. We currently forecast the Peso at P$12.7/US$, which might have a fine tuning depending on how aggressive Banxico sets its new policy. It is important to note that reserves are at their historical highs, despite one of the worst years in modern history.

4Q09 results to confirm the economic weakness

Most companies will report 2009 results in February. They should reflect the weak economic moment on a YoY basis, but in general some QoQ improvement, excluding seasonal effects. Hence, results should be no catalyst for the stocks, but management discussion and more details of guidance for 2010 will be the focus of investors.

Risks are related to the US economic recovery

We believe that economic data pointing to slower than expected economic recovery in the US is the main risk for the stock market in the short term. This would mean lower Mexican exports, inflow of dollars to the country (tourism and remittances) and eventual higher risk aversion at global level.

For detailed market analysis and report click here Allocation Mexico – February 2010

Source: IXE Banif, 02.02.2010

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, Services, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico the NEW China ?

When it comes to global manufacturing, Mexico is quickly emerging as the “new” China.

According to corporate consultant AlixPartners, Mexico has leapfrogged China to be ranked as the cheapest country in the world for companies looking to manufacture products for the U.S. market. India is now No. 2, followed by China and then Brazil.

In fact, Mexico’s cost advantages and has become so cheap that even Chinese companies are moving there to capitalize on the trade advantages that come from geographic proximity.

The influx of Chinese manufacturers began early in the decade, as China-based firms in the cellular telephone, television, textile and automobile sectors began to establish maquiladora operations in Mexico. By 2005, there were 20-25 Chinese manufacturers operating in such Mexican states Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Baja.

The investments were generally small, but the operations had managed to create nearly 4,000 jobs, Enrique Castro Septien, president of the Consejo Nacional de la Industria Maquiladora de Exportacion (CNIME), told the SourceMex news portal in a 2005 interview.

China’s push into Mexico became more concentrated, with China-based automakers Zhongxing Automobile Co., First Automotive Works (in partnership with Mexican retail/media heavyweight Grupo Salinas), Geely Automobile Holdings (PINK: GELYF) and ChangAn Automobile Group Co. Ltd. (the Chinese partner of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and Suzuki Motor Corp.), all announced plans to place automaking factories in Mexico.

Not all the plans would come to fruition. But Geely’s plan called for a three-phase project that would ultimately involve a $270 million investment and have a total annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. ChangAn wants to churn out 50,000 vehicles a year. Both companies are taking these steps with the ultimate goal of selling cars to U.S. consumers.

Mexico’s allure as a production site that can serve the U.S. market isn’t limited to China-based suitors. U.S. companies are increasingly realizing that Mexico is a better option than China. Analysts are calling it “nearshoring” or “reverse globalization.” But the reality is this: With wages on the rise in China, ongoing worries about whipsaw energy and commodity prices, and a dollar-yuan relationship that’s destined to get much uglier before it has a chance of improving, manufacturers with an eye on the American market are increasingly realizing that Mexico trumps China in virtually every equation the producers run.

“China was like a recent graduate, hitting the job market for the first time and willing to work for next to nothing,” Mexico-manufacturing consultant German Dominguez told the Christian Science Monitor in an interview last year. But now China is experiencing “the perfect storm … it’s making Mexico – a country that had been the ugly duckling when it came to costs – look a lot better.”

The real eye opener was a 2008 speculative frenzy that sent crude oil prices up to a record level in excess of $147 a barrel – an escalation that caused shipping prices to soar. Suddenly, the labor cost advantage China enjoyed wasn’t enough to overcome the costs of shipping finished goods thousands of miles from Asia to North America. And that reality kick-started the concept of “nearshoring,” concluded an investment research report by Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets Inc. (NYSE: CM)

“In a world of triple-digit oil prices, distance costs money,” the CIBC research analysts wrote. “And while trade liberalization and technology may have flattened the world, rising transport prices will once again make it rounder.”

Indeed, four factors are at work here.

Mexico’s “Fab Four”

  • The U.S.-Mexico Connection: There’s no question that China’s role in the post-financial-crisis world economy will continue to grow in importance. But contrary to the conventional wisdom, U.S. firms still export three times as much to Mexico as they do to China. Mexico gets 75% of its foreign direct investment from the United States, and sends 85% of its exports back across U.S. borders. As China’s cost and currency advantages dissipate, the fact that the United States and Mexico are right next to one another makes it logical to keep the factories in this hemisphere – if for no other reason that to shorten the supply chain and to hold down shipping costs. This is particularly important for companies like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) and even the beleaguered auto parts maker Delphi Corp. (PINK: DPHIQ) which are involved in just-in-time manufacturing that requires parts be delivered only as fast as they are needed.
  • The Lost Cost Advantage: A decade or more ago, in any discussion of manufactured product costs, Asia was hands-down the low-cost producer. That’s a given no more. Recent reports – including the analysis by AlixPartners – show that Asia’s production costs are 15% or 20% higher than they were just four years ago. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report from March reaches the same conclusion. Compensation costs in East Asia – a region that includes China but excludes Japan – rose from 32% of U.S. wages in 2002 to 43% in 2007, the most recent statistics available. And since wages are advancing at a rate of 8% to 9% a year, and many types of taxes are escalating, too, East Asia’s overall costs have no doubt escalated even more in the two years since the BLS figures were reported.
  • The Creeping Currency Crisis: For the past few years, U.S. elected officials and corporate executives alike have groused that China keeps its currency artificially low to boost its exports, while also reducing U.S. imports. The U.S. trade deficit with China has soared, growing by $20.2 billion in August alone to reach $143 billion so far this year. The currency debate will be part of the discussion when U.S. President Barack Obama visits China starting Monday. Because China’s yuan has strengthened so much, goods made in China may not be the bargain they once were. Those currency crosscurrents aren’t a problem with the U.S. and Mexico, however. As of Monday, the dollar was down about 15% from its March 2009 high. At the same time, however, the Mexican peso had dropped 20% versus the dollar. So while the yuan was getting stronger as the dollar got cheaper, the peso was getting even cheaper versus the dollar.
  • Trade Alliance Central: Everyone’s familiar with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  But not everyone understands the impact that NAFTA has had. It isn’t just window-dressing: Mexico’s trade with the United States and Canada has tripled since NAFTA was enacted in 1994. What’s more, Mexico has 12 free-trade agreements that involve more than 40 countries – more than any other country and enough to cover more than 90% of the country’s foreign trade. Its goods can be exported – duty-free – to the United States, Canada, the European Union, most of Central and Latin America, and to Japan.

In the global scheme of things, what I am telling you here probably won’t be a game-changer when it comes to China. That country is an economic juggernaut and is a market that U.S. investors cannot afford to ignore.  Given China’s emerging strength and its increasingly dominant financial position, it’s going to have its own consumer markets to service for decades to come.

Two Profit Play Candidates

From a regional standpoint, these developments all show that we’re in the earliest stages of what could be an even-closer Mexican/American relationship – enhancing the existing trade partnership in ways that benefit companies on both sides of the border (even companies that hail from other parts of the world).

In the meantime, we’ll be watching for signs of a resurgent Mexican manufacturing industry that’s ultimately driven by Chinese companies – because we know the American companies doing business with them will enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Since this is an early stage opportunity best for investors capable of stomaching some serious volatility, we’ll be watching for those Mexican companies likely to benefit from the capital that’s being newly deployed in their backyard.

Two of my favorite choices include:

  • Wal Mart de Mexico SAB de CV (OTC ADR: WMMVY): Also known as “Walmex,” this retailer has all the advantages of investing in its U.S. counterpart – albeit with a couple of twists. Walmex’s third-quarter profits were up 18% and the company just started accepting bank deposits, a service that should boost store traffic. And while the U.S. retail market is highly saturated – which limits growth opportunities – there are still plenty of places to build Walmex stores south of the border. After all, somebody has to sell products to all those thousands of workers likely to be involved in the growing maquiladora sector.
  • Coca-Cola FEMSA SAB de CV (NYSE ADR: KOF): Things truly do go better with Coke – especially higher wages and an improved lifestyle. According to Reuters, Mexicans now consume more Coca-Cola beverages per capita than any other nation in the world. The company just posted a 25% jump in its third-quarter net earnings, aided by a strong 21% jump in revenue. Coca-Cola FEMSA continues to experience strong growth from its Oxxo convenience stores, and strong beer sales, too. And all three product groups are logical beneficiaries of strong maquiladora development and the growing incomes and rising family wealth that will translate into higher consumer spending in the immediately surrounding areas.

Source: Money Morning, 13.11.2009 by Keith Fitz-Gerald, Chief Investment Strategist,  Money Morning/The Money Map Report

Filed under: Brazil, China, Countries, India, Latin America, Mexico, News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico’s MexDer seeks high class global partners

The financial crisis has slowed trading at Mexico City’s derivatives exchange MexDer, and led to some nasty smells in the OTC market. But participants are sure this is a temporary dip. Mexico’s market, led by MexDer, is full of drive. The exchange has up-to-date technology, is easily accessible to foreign traders, and could be on the verge of attracting a wave of new interest. FOW’s Agnieszka Troszkiewicz reports.

Jorge Alegría Formoso, chief executive of Mercado Mexicano de Derivados, is heading for Huatulco, a tourist resort in southern Mexico. But instead of taking some time off, he is attending the annual convention of Mexican pension funds.

As Alegría explained when FOW caught up with him, he is relentlessly working to attract new market participants to MexDer, and pension funds, known as Afores (Administradoras de Fondos de Retiro), are the country’s largest institutional investors.

They are increasingly given permission to use a wider range of financial products, presenting a big opportunity for MexDer.

On October 1, President Felipe Calderón proposed allowing Afores to invest freely in stocks, which would involve using single stock options. The reforms, which also include allowing Afores to invest in infrastructure and IPOs, have yet to be approved by the National Commission for the Pension System (Consar) and by Banco de Mexico, the country’s central bank.

“This is very good news for MexDer,” Alegría says. “Because of the changes in the regulation, we are very bullish on individual stock options, and potentially individual stock futures.”

Big ambitions

For an 11 year old exchange, MexDer has come a long way. “We took, and we are taking, the necessary measures to be the market of choice for the conduct of heavy activity in Mexico and Latin America,” Alegría says.

MexDer’s “dual strategy” for the next few years involves attracting both domestic and international investors.

On the local front, the main challenge is on the training side, Alegría explains: “Teaching funds; teaching the local investor base about the advantages of using derivatives and how to use them.”

He also wants the local banks to start favouring exchange-traded derivatives above the over-the-counter market.

Internationally, MexDer wants to attract high frequency traders and global players. “We’re actively promoting the very easy access to the exchange,” Alegría says. “We have big advantages on the regulatory and the clearing side to attract international players to our market.”

Seeking out customers

Others have noticed Alegría’s eagerness. “He’s been pounding the streets in North America, Europe and Asia about his exchange,” says Gerald Perez, managing director of Interactive Brokers UK, an online broker in London that provides direct market access (DMA) to MexDer.

“He’s been very receptive to hearing about needs from remote members, as well as customers and independent software vendors. The exchange has come up with solutions relatively quickly, compared to other exchanges in the same categories,” Perez says.

Interactive Brokers’ customers include individuals, hedge funds, brokers and proprietary trading firms. Those trading on MexDer mainly come from Europe and the Americas. “As we become more global, they want to diversify their portfolios; they want to take advantage of more opportunities; they want to go into emerging markets,” Perez says.

“It’s easy to connect to MexDer through brokers like us, which creates arbitrage opportunities,” he adds. Mexico’s location also makes MexDer an attractive marketplace for both north and south Americans.

Ryan Keough, managing director at SunGard Global Trading in New York, is in charge of business development in Latin America. He says that SunGard’s clients typically opt to trade more than one market in a region. “In Latin America, we have clients who are Spanish banks; but also some of the American banks, being full service providers, need to have a Mexican presence,” Keough says.

MexDer has been vigorous in its quest to reach out to remote members and increase its volumes. With support from the local authorities, the exchange took the first steps to modify local regulations to create an omnibus account scheme, allowing foreign financial firms to trade through MexDer members. In 2005, the exchange authorised remote trading.

MexDer was helped by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which in 2006 allowed its IPC equity index futures to be used by traders in the US. And the abolition of withholding tax for foreign participants boosted foreign interest in the Mexican exchange.

MexDer accepts collateral in dollars without requiring that it be converted into pesos or transferred to a Mexican-based account. It also allows the use of US Treasury notes, bonds and bills as margin.

The exchange has also worked to improve its technology. “Communication, communication, communication,” says Gloria Roa Béjar, head of BBVA Bancomer Derivados in Mexico City.

She points to connectivity as an area of progress for the exchange. The Fix Protocol has allowed fast direct access to the exchange, encouraging independent software vendors to write to the exchange.

ISVs have used Fix to build gateways and interfaces and add MexDer to the list of exchanges they offer, further increasing participation from overseas. “That’s an indication that the exchange is moving forward and meeting the needs of technology partners,” Perez says.

Technical upgrades

The exchange has chosen software vendor RTS Realtime Systems Group to supply its new front end trading platform. John Dempsey, vice-president for business development at RTS in Chicago, says the platform helped put local players on a more level playing field with the rest of the derivatives markets.

“It gave them a new set of tools to be able to manage their risk and get their trading done, perhaps in a more efficient and faster way,” he says, adding that the front end solution has brought a lot of interest from abroad.

“They really needed to get a single solution into the hands of the options market makers as well as into the traders and their customers, and to have a consistent, current capability to attract traders and so on from the outside and keep in line with the rest of the world. And it’s working!” Dempsey says.

To increase algorithmic trading, MexDer plans to introduce co-location in November. Keough at SunGard is convinced that co-location is an excellent service for MexDer to provide to its members and that it will improve the technical aspects of electronic trading, such as matching engines and the ability to handle big volumes.

With co-location, volumes should increase. But to be really attractive to algorithmic traders, the exchange needs more liquidity.

Falling volume

Although MexDer has taken several important steps to facilitate foreign participation in the past few years, its winning streak has been broken by the global financial crisis. As in most parts of the world, interest rate derivatives, which are at the heart of MexDer’s product suite, were hit worst by the financial crisis.

Alegría admits this. “The deleveraging process outside and inside Mexico affected the activity of the banks and their risk positions, and we were hit by that,” he says.

But he emphasises that the situation was the same everywhere, especially in the interest rate market.

MexDer’s total trading volume fell from nearly 229m contracts in 2007 to 70.2m in 2008, but that figure gives a misleadingly bad impression.

Almost all of the decline was due to a technical reconfiguration of one contract – the exchange’s benchmark future on the main interbank interest rate, the 28 day Tasa de Interés Interbancaria de Equilibrio, or TIIE 28.

A change to the product in September 2007 meant that market participants needed to trade much less often. Annual volume plunged from 220.6m contracts in 2007 to 57.9m in 2008. So far, 28.9m contracts have been traded in the January-August period this year, a monthly average of 3.61m, down from last year’s average of 4.83m.

Roa points out that in times of turmoil, market participants shifted from the TIIE 28 to peso/dollar futures and longer term interest rate swap futures of three and 10 years.

Fight for liquidity

“We were once among the 12 largest derivatives exchanges. We would like to regain our place,” Roa says.

The challenge for the market, she argues, is to raise volumes and liquidity without compromising financial strength. The obstacles to bringing in more traders include the heavy paperwork needed to open an account and the language barrier. But Mexico can compete on speed, Roa claims, and MexDer is changing its servers to be fast enough.

Above all, liquidity remains the main challenge and precondition for winning new customers. But falling volumes have been discouraging, especially to algorithmic and proprietary traders who take large positions.

Due to the financial crisis, several brokers and prop traders, which before the crisis had wanted to get involved in the exchange, delayed their plans to start trading.

One source at an international bank says the bank put its plans to trade on MexDer on hold due to the decline in volume and high connectivity costs.

“Our customers that desire access are high volume, algorithmic proprietary trading groups. They would either need co-location or expensive high bandwidth data lines,” the source says. “So with the lower volumes and high cost of access, we have put MexDer on hold.”

Instead, the bank is now focused on accessing Brazil’s BM&F Bovespa, which even though it has a far more cumbersome process for opening third party omnibus accounts, benefits from an order routing agreement with CME Group. All the bank’s customers have access to the Globex order routing system, through which BM&F’s contracts can be traded.

And although MexDer allows remote non-clearing membership, the cost of accessing the exchange was “the next biggest issue” after the drop in liquidity, the source says.

Alegría disagrees with the notion that connecting to MexDer is costly, arguing that execution and clearing costs are comparable with similar products on other emerging market exchanges. But he admits that connectivity costs may vary, depending on the location of the member.

The exchange has been “adding a lot of efficiencies in terms of access, no taxes and on clearing, that makes our market more easy to access and trade, thus reducing all-in costs as well,” he says. “We are of course exploring some reduced fee schedules for liquidity providers, for certain market making programmes that we will publish in the future.”

On the bright side

Though the crisis has affected the exchange’s activities, market participants believe it has passed the test. “Although our volumes decreased, it was a very solid market,” Roa says, pointing to the fact that there was no default in the clearing house and margin calls were honoured. “The September 2008 crisis was one of these big tests of the market and we survived without problems. A solid clearing house and solid clearing members,” she says.

“The exchange did pretty well from the risk management point of view,” Alegría says. “I guess all the exchanges have demonstrated that the model works well… This is the model that should be used in the future for regulation and preferred use of derivatives.”

Trouble over the counter

Alegría’s confidence about the benefits of exchange-traded derivatives is in sharp contrast with the sour mood in the OTC market.

Last year, as in many emerging markets from Poland to Brazil, some Mexican companies suffered mark-to-market losses from positions in currency derivatives, which totalled about $15bn.

The losses almost led to the collapse of several Mexican household names. Brewer Grupo Modelo, conglomerate Alfa, cement maker Cemex and tortilla maker Gruma were among companies that took heavy losses on the contracts. Comercial Mexicana, the country’s major food retailer, sought bankruptcy protection last year after losing up to $1.1bn on non-deliverable forward contracts it had made with international banks.

In 2007 and 2008, the companies bet against the depreciation of the currency by selling foreign exchange options in the offshore market, due to the strengthening of the peso before August 2008.

The contracts allowed the companies to sell dollars at low cost when the peso rose in value. But, at the same time, they forced them to sell dollars at a loss if the Mexican currency fell beyond a set limit.

A month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the peso dropped by more than 30% and the companies were forced to sell double the amount of US dollars at the higher price.

Pablo Perezalonso Eguía, partner at Ritch Mueller law firm in Mexico City, says banks are now more careful about the type of products they offer clients, and about how they document their transactions. “Especially, they are more careful about requesting collateral, because in many of the instances there was no collateral requested in these transactions, which complicated things for banks and broker-dealers,” he says.

There are now discussions about changing a standard local master agreement to make things more clear, Perezalonso says.

Evan Koster, partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf in New York, adds that “From a banker-dealer perspective, there is a lot of hesitancy to do derivatives with Mexican counterparties as a result of that experience.”

The obstacles, he says, are now more than regulatory – they are related to perception and credit.

Smart state

This bad experience of derivatives in Mexico contrasts sharply with the clever use of OTC options by the Mexican government, which successfully hedged its revenue from oil taxes during one of the most turbulent periods for the oil price (see FOW Awards on page 22).

“Here we have an interesting contrast of prudent use of financial products for financial planning and risk management, and not so prudent use of this type of products,” says Gerardo Rodriguez Regordosa, director of public credit at the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

“The fact that some people did not make responsible use of financial products does not imply that the product itself is not something good. I think that people understand that difference very well in the market,” Rodriguez says.

Nevertheless, the Treasury’s success has failed to reverse the poor public image of derivatives in Mexico. Participation in general has been restrained. “When there is turmoil in such hard times, people abstain from derivatives at all,” Roa observes. “They don’t make distinction between the OTC and organised markets. We have seen, as a market as a whole, a decrease in volume in 2009.”

But she asserts that people should differentiate between the organised and OTC markets: “Derivatives got a bad name after the crisis, but the organised markets are transparent, solid and efficient.”

MexDer’s OTC plans

Alegría has a “three-layered” plan that would help MexDer capitalise on market participants’ loss of appetite for OTC products and lure trading to the exchange.

In December, MexDer will list deliverable versions of its two and 10 year interest rate swap futures contract. “You will be able to trade interest rate swaps in MexDer with a central clearing counterparty, which is Asigna,” Alegría says.

Market participants will be able to close open positions before the expiration of the contract, which will be settled by the clearing house.

“This is the first step – to move one step closer to OTC trading [coming] on to exchange trading and clearing,” Alegría says.

The second phase is to develop an OTC clearing service next year. Finally, Alegría wants to see a registry of OTC trades, to serve as a database for the authorities – similar to the way the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp works in the US.

CME on the horizon

Changes might happen soon with a potential alliance with CME Group. In September, Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, the owner of MexDer, announced it had entered talks “of a preliminary nature” with CME Group, which could involve selling a minority stake in the BMV Group to the Chicago exchange. The talks centre, of course, on MexDer.

Bernardo Mariano, an analyst at the Equity Research Desk, an investment advisory firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, says a relationship between the two exchanges could mean an order routing agreement.

“CME has about 150,000 terminals around the world and that will provide MexDer with an audience. For them to achieve 150,000 terminals can take many years, if not even decades,” Mariano says.

For CME the deal could mean being able to offer more products to its clients, as well as reaching new customers in Mexico.

The source at an international bank reckons that MexDer would benefit from partnering with a major global exchange. He says it has been approached by the likes of CME, NYSE, Nasdaq OMX, International Securities Exchange and Eurex. “They just need to choose one and move on or they will miss the party. I believe the MexDer representatives that I have met are smart, conscientious and enthusiastic and they believe a partnership is inevitable,” he says.

Alegría is silent about the potential alliance, saying it is too early to talk about it. But it is widely hoped that the potential deal will bring an increase in volume thanks to CME’s expertise and network. SunGard’s Keough believes MexDer might also gain “additional credibility” owing to CME’s reputation.

The next stage

The exchange might enjoy a similar experience to BM&F Bovespa’s. In October 2007, CME Group acquired a 10% stake in BM&F, which later became a 5% stake in the merged BM&F Bovespa. The Brazilian exchange received 1.7% of CME Group.

The deal has resulted in a mutual order routing agreement, and the two groups have also jointly developed new products.

“We saw the BM&F go through a whole revamp in Brazil and I think [MexDer] would see a similar renaissance occur,” Keough says. “These partnerships help drive innovation within the markets and that will continue especially if this CME partnership goes through.”

The partnership with CME helped the Brazilian exchange push its technology forward. “This partnership means firms trading on the CME can have access to these markets as well. That way the exchange will need to make sure that all the infrastructure is in place to then support the additional users and more electronic trading,” Keough says.

Guillermo Camou Hernandez, director at Scotia Capital, which clears futures and options on MexDer, reckons: “Once Mexico makes some structural changes, as other emerging countries have, it will be a target of many foreign investors, and with the synergy with the CME, MexDer will increase the participants, customers and then the volume.”

Source: FOW, 06.11.2009

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, Risk Management, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: Accessing MexDer – What’s on the Horizon – Webinar October – presentation

Thank you for attending our recent webinar with MexDer. We hope you found it useful and educational.  Please let us know if you are interested in the PowerPoint slides as they are available.

If you were unable to attend or would like to listen to the webinar again, please check out our website.

Join us for an interesting webinar  to learn more about MexDer  the Mexican Derivatives Exchange . John Dempsey of RTS interviews MexDer’s CEO, Jorge Alegria on the development and exciting future of  trading at MexDer.

Space is  limited. Reserve your Webinar seat’s here.

Key Points

– Hear about new products and the future of this exchange
– Understand what opportunities are available in this market
– Learn how you can access this market remotely and fast
– Hear about milestones achieved in order to make access easy
– Learn about the history and the exciting future of MexDer

Event Details

Title:                 Accessing MexDer – What’s on the Horizon
Date:                 Thursday, October 1, 2009
Time:                3:30 – 4:30 PM CDT (Chicago/Mexico City)

Organized by: RTS Real Time Systems and  Co-hosted with MexDer Mexican Derivatives Exchanges

Space is  limited. Reserve your Webinar seat’s here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

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Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Events, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America Rebound to Be ‘Remarkably Strong,’ Barclays Says

Latin America’s economic recovery will be “remarkably strong,” bolstering currencies and spurring interest rate increases in 2010, Barclays Plc said.

“We expect a strong 2010,” Barclays analysts wrote in the bank’s emerging-markets quarterly report dated yesterday. “Robust growth prospects in Latin America bode well for capital inflows, equity prices and FX appreciation.”

The Brazilian real and the Mexico peso offer the most potential “to trade the region’s rebound,” the analysts wrote. They raised their estimate for Latin America growth in 2010 to 4.4 percent from 3.6 percent.

Barclays said the global economic rebound will be “sharper and last longer than we previously anticipated,” with all the regions contributing to expansion. The growth forecasts for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, known as EMEA, was increased to 2.9 percent from 1.4 percent expected in the previous quarterly report.

Source: Bloomberg, 23.09.2009

Filed under: Brazil, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, , , , , , , ,

Mexico: In for the bad but also for the good

IXE Mexico Monthly Allocation-april-2009 The improvement in US economic indicators last month had the expected positive effect on the Mexican IPyC that ended the month up by 10.56%, outperforming the US markets by 2.83%. This is in line with expectations, due to the high dependency of the Mexican economy on US activity in comparison to the other economies in the region. One of the main highlights is auto-parts, which benefited from expectations that the US automakers have found their ground and would resume production levels, even if at a lower level.

All eyes will turn to the G20 meeting that starts on April 2. The focus is actually on the previous day, when the Chinese President Hu Jintao meets the USA President Mr. Obama. This is not only the first meeting between the two, but comes right after the President of the Chinese Central Bank declared that it is time to end the use of the American dollar as an international reserve parity.
China is the name of the game
Expectations around the globe are that China will pull through the current drop in activity before the others. Sustaining this are estimates of commercial agreements between the USA and China, with a renewal in imports of Chinese products by the Americans in exchange for the maintenance of their savings in US Treasury Bonds. The Mexican economy would suffer more under this scenario, as it would likely signify a stronger drop in activity between the two countries. Thus, it would be important for the Mexican economy to increase its dependence on other markets to reduce the importance of the USA.

Looking at the indicators, expectations are of a new cut in rates in Mexico. Industrial activity has worsened due to the dependency of auto parts on the USA. Inflation looks like it will continue under control, especially as the Mexican Peso reduced from the P$ 15.60/US$ level to P$ 14.30/US$. This should allow the Mexican Central Bank to cut rates again during the April 17 meeting, by at least 25 bps. The government will also be watching oil prices that are indicating that they will stabilize above the US$ 50/boe level this month. Although Pemex is not part of the IPyC, it is a very important source of income for the government and thus is a strong indicator of where the local stock market will head.

Outperforming the IPyC
Stock – Catalysts/Fundamentals

AMXL – underweighting the index due to noise in relation to sector competition
AUTLANB – lagging the sector despite a positive outlook and strong balance sheet
AXTELCPO – trading at an EV/EBITDA of 3.6x it is the cheapest in the sector
CEMEXCPO – company will make debt-restructuring announcement this month
GEOB – trading at attractive multiples compared to peers
GMEXICOB – Asarco solutions results in a decrease to the strong discount of SOTP
HOMEX – most liquid in the sector, with attractive valuations
ICA – industry leader and will likely win the bid for a large project for Pemex
MEXCHEM – guidance indicates a good 1Q09
SORIANAB – improvement coming from the Gigante stores
TLEVISACPO – improvement on diversifications and dividend yield of 4%
WALMEXV – underweighting its participation in the index as it outperformed peers

Source: IXE Casa de Bolsa, Mexico, 31.03.2009

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Mexico, News, , , , , , , ,