MONTEVIDEO - A sudden capital outflow from Mexico and other emerging economies is an outside risk despite a recent spike in returns on U.S. Treasuries, Mexican Deputy Finance Minister Gerardo Rodriguez said on Saturday.
But Rodriguez played down comparisons with market moves in 1994 in the run-up to the so-called Tequila Crisis, when foreign investors abandoned Mexican, Brazilian and Argentinian assets.
“Treasuries remain historically low, even with the increase there has been in the last few weeks and for this reason the situation is different,” he said on the sidelines of meetings of the Inter-American Development Bank in Uruguay.
“It’s not a central scenario given what we are seeing at the moment but it’s a risk which we have to be prepared for.”
Treasuries have sold off as expectations for stronger growth in the U.S. economy and reassuring stress-test results for most U.S. banks encouraged investors to dump low-yielding government bonds, but conversely the rising yields could attract some investors to bet on further increases in the future.
Economic historian Barry Eichengreen said increased optimism about the U.S. outlook had fanned talk about a similar spike in yields in 1994. “A classic capital flow reversal could be the result,” he said at the IADB meetings.
The amount of Mexican peso debt held by foreign investors has more than tripled over the last two years to a record high even though Mexico’s economy is still recovering from a deep recession in 2009. Benchmark interest rates have been on hold at 4.5 percent since mid-2009.
Rodriguez said the government was sticking with a forecast for economic growth this year of 3.5 percent and saw risks now as more balanced than a few months earlier.