Vamos! Mexican stocks hit fresh high (again)

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Another week, another new record high set by the Mexican stock market.

The country’s benchmark IPC index hit a fresh intraday high of 49,590.85 on Monday as investors increasingly discount the likelihood that the Trump administration would be able to deliver fully on its protectionist trade policies.

Having sold off heavily in the wake of Mr Trump’s presidential victory, Mexican assets have made a remarkable comeback since the start of the year. The IPC erased its post election losses last month and the index is now up 8.5 per cent for the year to date.

The peso has also staged a similarly powerful rally. The currency has gone from one of last year’s worst performing major emerging market currencies to this year’s best, clocking in a gain of 11 per cent since the start of January.

More conciliatory comments made by Washington last month have fueled bets that Mexico may avoid some of the extreme outcomes that risk impairing its export-focused model and economy.

The rally was given extra fuel by the White House’s failure to rally enough Republicans around its healthcare reform bill while a stabilisation in oil prices since November and more dovish comments from the US Federal Reserve over the pace of future interest-rate rises is also helping to anchor sentiment.

Oil income represents a fifth of Mexico’s national budget while a less aggressive Fed would ease pressure on the country’s own central bank to hike quickly.

And while the Mexican economy has slowed, it is proving more resilient than many were expecting.

“The collapse in Mexico’s main business surveys and a number of confidence indices since President Trump’s election victory in November has been alarming, but it hasn’t yet been accompanied by a weakening in the hard data,” said Adam Collins, Latin America economist at Capital Economics. “As such, while we think the economy probably lost some steam in Q1, we suspect the surveys have significantly overstated the slowdown.”

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