Texas economists are confident that the financial upheavals long associated with Mexican elections are a thing of the past. Still, they are closely watching what this summer’s presidential contest means for the peso and, in turn, Texas’ symbiotic business ties to Mexico. Texas politicians are paying close attention, too — to whether the trade, security and energy policies of President Felipe Calderón’s successor will affect illegal immigration or the state’s robust trade relationship with Mexico.
Three Texas customs districts, Laredo, El Paso and Houston, rank among Mexico’s top four trading partners. Collectively, they accounted for roughly $235 billion in trade between Texas and Mexico from January to September 2011, according to United States Census data analyzed by WorldCity, which tracks global trade patterns. The figures show an increase over 2010 despite the American recession and unprecedented violence in Mexico because of warring drug cartels.
Gerardo Schwebel, the executive vice president of International Bank of Commerce’s international division in Laredo, said the future of this booming trade relationship partly depends on what investors anticipate for the peso. Though Mr. Schwebel and other analysts speculate that Mexico will not see a major devaluation similar to what it experienced three presidential elections ago, when political, social and economic factors plunged the country into a financial crisis, he warned that its currency is still volatile.
“The reason behind that is, the uncertainty of Europe and the U.S. economy have added pressures to the Mexican peso,” Mr. Schwebel said. He added that the Mexican customer must constantly measure whether to make payments in dollars, or whether to wait and see if the peso gets weaker or stronger, depending on what the transaction is.