Barclays Breaks Ranks on Mexican Rate as It Advises Selling Peso

Investors should sell Mexico’s peso against the dollar as the country’s central bank will keep the benchmark interest rate at a record low this week after the Federal Reserve’s policy decision, according to Barclays Plc.

That call for Banco de Mexico to hold rates at its Dec. 17 meeting goes against a 25 basis-point increase predicted by 14 of the 18 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The peso, which tumbled to an all-time low last week on speculation the Fed will raise rates for the first time in nine years, was little changed at 17.3916 versus the dollar on Monday.

The most-traded currency in emerging markets weakened every day last week on concern a stronger dollar will curb the appeal of riskier assets. The central bank sold $400 million in auctions on Dec. 11 to prop up the peso that has lost 15 percent this year. Policy makers have reduced the official overnight rate 11 times by a total of 525 basis points to 3 percent over the last seven years.

“We recommend being short Mexican peso into Banxico’s decision, as we expect no change in the fondeo rate,” Barclays researchers headed by Jose Wynne wrote in a report on Monday. Its analysts predict the Fed will raise its rate this week.

Mexico’s economy and the financial system have sufficient stability to cushion them from adjustments in global markets once the Fed raises rates, a panel including Finance Minister Luis Videgaray and central-bank Governor Agustin Carstens said in a statement Dec. 11. However, the Fed decision could have consequences for Mexico’s external account and public finances, the group said.

Futures traders assign a 74 percent probability that the Fed will lift rates from near-zero levels on Dec. 16.

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