Cordero Said to Resign as Mexico Finance Chief in Order to Seek Presidency

Mexican Energy Minister Jose Antonio Meade will take over as finance minister from Ernesto Cordero, who is stepping down to run for the presidency next year.

President Felipe Calderon announced the appointment today at an event in Mexico City. Jordy Herrera, currently the head of Petroleos Mexicanos’ gas and petrochemical unit will assume Meade’s former post.

Meade, who as deputy finance minister headed last year’s talks with Congress to pass Calderon’s 2011 budget, will adapt quickly to his new duties as lawmakers discuss spending plans for 2012, said Ernesto O’Farrill, an economist at Bursametrica SA in Mexico City.

“Meade is technically capable and has the political experience required,” O’Farrill said in a telephone interview. “It is convenient that this change is already happening, instead of keeping the uncertainty about Cordero’s role.”

The peso weakened 0.9 percent to 12.6311 at 2:06 p.m. New York time. The currency fell to 12.6743 in intraday trading, the weakest level since 12.7686 on Aug. 9.

The yield on Mexico’s benchmark peso-denominated bonds due 2024 rose 13 basis points, or 0.13 percentage point, to 6.36 percent, according to Banco Santander SA data. The price fell 1.37 centavos to 132.51 centavos per peso. The benchmark IPC stock index slid 2.6 percent to 33,808.02.

Cabinet Shuffles

Calderon is making changes to his Cabinet for the third time this year. Since taking office in 2006, he has named four interior ministers, three economy ministers and three finance ministers, among other changes.

Meade, 42, took over the Energy Ministry on Jan. 7. He has a doctorate in economics from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He previously served as the head of financial planning for Mexico’s pension fund regulator and the head of the Finance Ministry’s banking unit.

Cordero is among a number of candidates vying for the nomination of Calderon’s National Action Party as it seeks to prevent the Institutional Revolutionary Party from regaining the presidency that it held for seven decades before losing power in 2000. Opposition lawmakers had questioned Cordero’s ability to direct fiscal policy while positioning himself for a presidential run.

‘Discipline and Stability’

“It’s very healthy that the economic realm is being cleaned of political noise,” said Mario Correa, an economist with Grupo Financiero Scotiabank SA in Mexico City. “I don’t expect any policy changes. Meade will keep the country’s fiscal discipline and stability as the Mexican economy’s major assets.”

Among voters belonging to the ruling National Action Party, Cordero ranks fourth in preference with 7 percent, according to a poll from Consulta Mitofsky. The survey was carried out between Aug. 20 and Aug. 24 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Among all potential voters, Cordero does not rank in the top six possible candidates, the survey shows. Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, leads preferences with 34 percent, followed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who narrowly lost to Calderon for the presidency in 2006.

Mexicans vote to choose Calderon’s successorin July 2012.

In other cabinet changes announced today, Salomon Chertorivsky replaces Jose Angel Cordova as health minister, after leading the government health program known as Seguro Popular.

Alejandro Poire will head the national intelligence agency, known as CISEN, after being the government security spokesman. Alejandra Sota, currently spokeswoman for Calderon, will maintain her duties and will also assume Poire’s role.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jose Enrique Arrioja in Mexico City at jarrioja@bloomberg.net; Carlos M. Rodriguez in Mexico City at carlosmr@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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