While buying newspapers in Tijuana earlier this month I was surprised to count the jangling change in my hand: There were definitely a few more pesos than usual.
I remember the exchange rate was about 8-1 when I started working in Tijuana in 2000 and around 11-1 when I stopped working in Tijuana seven years later. This month, however, the exchange rate dipped to almost 14 pesos to the dollar. This means that my dollar is buying me substantially more food, drinks – and newspapers – south of the border. Normally, this would be a great thing for tourists, and maybe advertising the exchange rate could attract some visitors who have been staying away from the region due to a wave of drug-trafficking violence. But I’m not sure that a favorable exchange rate for us is good for Mexico.
A story in La Jornada newspaper notes that the peso’s depreciation is due to the global crisis and points out that the U.S. auto industry’s problems are likely to impact Mexico where many of these car parts are manufactured. Another story in the San Antonio Express-News explains why it is that large Mexican companies that have depended on the dollar for financing their operations are now being affected negatively by the exchange rate. And Mexbiznews.com reports that former Mexican President Felipe Calderon Ernesto Zedillo is ominously calling the current crisis “a moment of truth” for Latin America.
To keep tabs on the exchange rate, go here. It was 13.5 when I filed this post.