In just five minutes, Mexico’s fiscal position took two heavy blows that sent the peso reeling.
In almost simultaneous announcements, Fitch Ratings cut its credit rating for Mexico while Moody’s Investors Service shifted its outlook to negative, both warning that the state-owned oil company’s ballooning debt is a risk to public finances amid weaker growth.
Fitch downgraded Mexico to BBB from BBB+, two notches above investment grade. Minutes earlier, Moody’s changed the outlook of its A3 credit rating for Mexico to negative from stable on concern that 'unpredictable' policy-making is undermining investor confidence and economic prospects.
“Meeting fiscal targets will become more difficult heading into 2020 and could result in tighter policy that creates a further headwind to growth,' Fitch said in its statement.
Mexico’s peso fell on the news, dropping 1.2% to 19.8194 per dollar at 6:38 p.m. in New York.
Lower growth, together with changes in energy policy and the role of state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, present risks to the nation’s mid-term fiscal outlook, Moody’s said.
“I don’t think it’s unexpected, all the ratings agencies are on point about this whole situation and I think Pemex is really one of the major drivers of it,” said Wilbur Matthews, Vaquero Global Investment LP founder. “It’s Pemex and uncertainty about policy, and whether the policy is going to be outright bad or at some point get realistic.”
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