Thailand, Indonesia and India have all made bullish noises of late, suggesting they may raise rates in the near future.

Indonesia’s central bank governor said today that it remained vigilant against rising inflationary pressures, which is good to know from a bank that has been keeping at least one eye firmly on growth. Consumer price inflation rose to 6.96 per cent in the year to December, against a 2011 target of 5 per cent +/- 1 per cent. The central bank has kept rates at their post-crisis low of 6.5 per cent to drive growth via commercial loans, Reuters reports. The IMF has called on the country to raise rates, which recently cut import duties on food to try to dampen price rises.

India is expected to raise rates next Tuesday, January 25. A “vast majority” of Read more

By Adam Thomson in Mexico City

Are remittance flows to Mexico finally recovering? To judge by figures released by the country’s central bank on Tuesday, the answer may be a tentative “yes”.

The amount of money sent back home in April by Mexicans living abroad was $1.78bn, the first year-on-year increase in the last 17 months, and above private-sector forecasts.

That can only be good news for the millions of families that have come to rely on these financial flows to fund everything from putting food on the table each day to paying for school supplies, medical bills and even the construction of homes.

But whether the monthly increase truly represents a turn-around is still unclear. It is true that improving macroeconomic data from the US, particularly in employment and manufacturing, suggests that there is a solid foundation for optimism.

As a research note published on Tuesday morning by Economía Ixe, part of Ixe bank, states: “The recovery in the north American labour market is starting to turn into a greater disposable income for Mexican migrants.”

But don’t get too excited just yet. Read more

Simone Baribeau

No relationship other than that they both reported February consumer prices today and in both cases, government price controls affected inflation.

Inflation in Venezuela subsided in February, falling to 1.6 per cent, its lowest level in 11 months. That is, of course, the monthly rise, annualised inflation rose some 24.7 per cent. The lower price increases were due to smaller increases in the cost of food, communication, education and alcohol and tobacco. Read more

The Mexican central bank has held the interbank interest rate at 4.5 per cent, as expected. Inflation is above target and rising, at an annual rate of 4.46 per cent for January. In its press release, the monetary policy board said action may be taken to achieve the target inflation rate of 3 per cent by the end of next year*.

*NB. This was translated using Google translate – no English version is yet available

Simone Baribeau

Inflation in Mexico more than doubled to 1.09 per cent in January as residents were hit with growing government taxes and fees.

Sales tax rose countrywide from 15 to 16 per cent at the beginning of the year, increasing the cost of some foods, beer and cigarettes. At the same time cash-strapped municipalities have been raising the cost of public transportation and telephone calls. Read more

By Adam Thomson, Mexico correspondent

The new head of Mexico’s central bank has promised closer co-operation with the government will underpin his six-year tenure, a move likely to heighten investor concerns about his institution’s independence. Read more

The Mexican central bank kept the target for the overnight interbank funding rate at 4.5 per cent, as expected, hoping to target inflation of 3 per cent by the end of this year. The decision was the first under new bank governor Agustin Carstens.

Simone Baribeau

Monthly remittances to Mexico in November hit their lowest level since February 2005, Mexico’s Central bank reported today.

The payments were 14.4 per cent below their year ago levels, and more than 43 per cent below the high hit in October 2008. But the speed of the annual decline slowed to its lowest level since March as the US economy sheds fewer jobs.

Simone Baribeau

The Senate has confirmed Agustín Carstens, Mexico’s finance minister, as its next central banker, less than a week after Mexican President Felipe Calderón nominated him to the post.

Mr Carstens will take the post on January 1. His confirmation comes the day after Standard and Poor’s downgraded Mexico’s government debt to BBB, highlighting concerns on the country’s diminishing oil production prospects and expectations for weak overall growth. Read more

The OECD today invited Chile to become its second member in Latin America after Mexico. Chile will formally accept this invitation when an Accession Agreement is signed in the presence of Secretary-General Angel Gurría and President Michelle Bachelet on 11 January 2010 in Santiago. Read more

Agustin Carstens has advocated the continued independence of Mexico’s central bank, and promised greater openness and transparency to the senators who will vote to ratify his nomination as chief. The incumbent, Guillermo Ortiz, will apparently stop chairing the Bank of International Settlements if – as looks likely – he leaves the Bank of Mexico. Carstens is a likely replacement. Does anyone know what Ortiz will do?

Mexico has just been downgraded to BBB from BBB+ by Moody’s, following a similar downgrade by Fitch on November 23. Read more

Adam Thomson of the Financial Times writes about the political implications of Mexico’s newly nominated central bank governor Read more

The Mexican president has named finance minister Agustín Carstens as the next central bank governor. Ernesto Cordero, who until this week headed Sedesol, the country’s social development ministry, will take over from Mr Carstens. Insiders say that the move also allowed Mr Calderón to install another confidante in a key ministry – an emerging pattern not lost on political analysts – in the form of Mr Cordero. 


Rumours are circulating that Mexico’s centre-right president wants a new central bank governor.

The speculation has gone down badly with bankers, who respect the incumbent, Guillermo Ortiz, and want him to remain in office while the country struggles with recession. Mr Ortiz, identified more with the opposition party, also chairs the board of the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central banks. Read more