Mexico’s benchmark IPC stock index [MXX] may be one of the safest places to invest now. The index has been down 3.2% since the beginning of September. But geopolitical turmoil could buffer the MXX from suffering as much as other emerging market indexes in coming months.
When it comes to energy, Mexico could benefit from growing tensions between the U.S. and the world’s biggest natural gas supplier, Russia. Overall, unrest in many oil-producing countries around the world makes Mexico a relatively stable provider of crude and natural gas.
Mexico is the world’s sixth largest oil producer and a major exporter to the U.S. Oil revenue is one of the country’s top sources of foreign currencies.
Of course, no oil provider is immune to the recent decline of a barrel of oil. When the hurricanes blow off into oblivion, chances are the reduced consumption of oil worldwide could keep prices in a slide.
Moreover, Mexico’s offshore oil production has been in decline this year, affecting its crucial export revenues.
At the same time, relatively high yields on Mexican debt compared to U.S. Treasuries are attractive to investors.
Mexico’s central bank continues to tighten borrowing costs, setting its key interest rate to 8.25% and pushing the spread between Mexican and U.S. benchmark overnight rates to 6.25 percentage points, the widest since late 2005.
The high interest rates and the U.S. shakeout of the banking sector have reinforced confidence in the peso. The thinking is that as Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) and Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) get crushed, the silver lining here is that the world markets are actually taking a step closer to stability — at least that’s the bullish take on the catastrophes.
If that’s the case, U.S. interest rates could start to decline again, making the yield on Mexican bonds even more attractive.