Jan 15, 2019

Mexico's radical left-wing president has markets' trust

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Pedro Gonzalez Castillo/Getty Images

Barely a month into his term as Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador is facing a swelling gasoline crisis — "one that threatens to cut into his popularity and worsen the nation’s already-sluggish economy," the Los Angeles Times writes.

The big picture: But even as the gas imbroglio rages, investors have been content to buy or hold Mexican assets. The nation's radical, far-left, self-described revolutionary president has their confidence.

What they're saying: "He has met or exceeded expectations," said Jim Barrineau, head of emerging markets debt at Schroders. "We were skeptical that he would be able to balance his desire for social programs with a reasonable fiscal policy. So far it seems like he has."

  • Mexican Finance Minister Carlos Urzua and a team met with dozens of investors in New York recently. It was called "impressive" and "confidence building" by attendees.
  • "We are very pleased," said Jin Zhang, an executive director and portfolio manager at Vontobel Asset Management who oversees $39 billion and says he holds significant investments in Mexican stocks. "We had been watching pretty closely the whole process."

What it means: The performance of his economic team combined with the president's fiscally austere budget — which still allocated increased spending to programs for the poor, new mass transportation projects and scaled-back banking regulations — have provided López Obrador with a longer leash from the market.

  • That was on display this week as Mexican stocks held steady and the peso rose in value against the dollar through the turbulent gas shortage.

"Remember, there were people eight or nine months ago comparing AMLO to [former Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez and that’s not at all what we have," said Cathy Hepworth co-head of emerging market debt at PGIM Fixed Income. "Nor is he …what we’ve had for the past 20 years in Mexico. And maybe at the end of the day some of what AMLO has in store for Mexico is what Mexico needs. You just have to be careful about how you go about making those changes."

Go deeper: Mexico's AMLO poised to reshape government as he assumes presidency

Go deeper

Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,225,360 — Total deaths: 66,542 — Total recoveries: 252,615Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 312,249 — Total deaths: 8,503 — Total recoveries: 15,021Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August." Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: The Louisiana governor warned that his state is set to run out of ventilators in four days. Illinois governor claims Trump doesn't understand the word "federal."
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Work update: Employees still going to work are often facing temperature checks, distanced work stations, protective devices and mass absences.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Illinois governor: "The president does not understand the word 'federal'"

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's comments about the federal government's stockpile of medical equipment suggest he "does not understand the word 'federal.'"

Why it matters: White House adviser Jared Kushner argued at a press briefing last week that the "notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."