LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 66

2
THE
FUTURE
OF LATIN
FINANCE

Mexico’s ‘tequila’ crisis remains a raw memory as the world braces for a rise
in US interest rates. Latin America must be prepared, says Banorte chairman
Guillermo Ortiz. By Taimur Ahmad

Guillermo Ortiz
The ‘trigger’ point

M

emories of financial crises run deep in mexico – perhaps
for no one more so than Guillermo ortiz.
Barely four weeks into his job as minister for communications and transport, ortiz was
given an unenviable task: to save mexico from default.
it was December 1994. the peso had just collapsed, following a decision by the government
to devalue the currency and let it float. Jaime Serra, the finance minister, promptly resigned.
mexico’s so-called ‘tequila crisis’ was now in full swing, as capital fled the country.
then-president ernesto Zedillo tapped ortiz for the finance portfolio in a bid to calm
markets. in that role, he would, in the months ahead, help pull mexico back from the brink,
securing and coordinating a $50 billion US-led bailout that eventually succeeded in restoring
confidence.
the roots of the crisis are often attributed to policy blunders during the prior administration of carlos Salinas, although the devaluation – and a miscalculation of its effects – proved to
be the immediate trigger.
But the crisis also unfolded against a backdrop of sharply rising US interest rates, which
exacerbated the outflow of capital from mexico and which, according to ortiz, were “a very
important part” of that episode.
that year, US federal Reserve chairman alan Greenspan had embarked on an aggressive
tightening cycle, raising the federal funds rate by more than 300 basis points over the year,
in a bid to thwart inflation. the move triggered a bond market rout – and also upended the
nascent emerging markets asset class.
That was then
two decades later, as global financial markets brace for an inevitable rise in US interest rates,
ortiz, now chairman of mexico’s Grupo financiero Banorte, reflects on the rising market
volatility with a degree of unease.
in an interview with LatinFinance, ortiz says that developed world interest rates will
inevitably edge higher – and when they do, that emerging markets will be in for a tough and
prolonged slog as they compete for capital with their developed world counterparts.
“What we face now is an episode of a normalization of interest rates that will last for sure
for several years, starting with the fed,” he says. this, adds ortiz, will inevitably mean “a
pullback of resources from emerging markets”.
the “violent market reaction” in the early weeks of the summer is evidence that vast capital flows chasing yield make emerging markets vulnerable, he says.
While he doesn’t expect the worst, he says that latin america, and mexico in particular,

66 l atinfina nce.com - 25 Years - August 2013

would this time nevertheless be ready to
withstand a sharp rise in US interest rates,
should it occur. “obviously we’re very prepared to confront volatility and a repetition
of an episode like 1994/1995,” he says.
Whatever the case, he is clear that “central banks cannot keep the world flooded
with money forever”.
But he warns that although markets stabilized following a sharp sell-off in emerging
market assets in may and June on fears of an
earlier-than-expected end to the US federal Reserve’s bond buying program, that
respite could prove short-lived.
“the markets are calmer today but the
trigger can come at any point,” he says.
“emerging markets and latin american
countries will be well advised to prepare
themselves for a difficult period in the next
years.”
Fire with fire
ortiz’s expertise as a crisis manager extended well beyond the finance ministry: he
left that job in 1998 to take the helm at the
Bank of mexico, which he ran for 12 years,
successfully banishing hyperinflation and
bringing mexico into a new era of financial
stability.
During that time, he steered the emerging world’s first freely floating currency
through the fallout of financial crises in
asia, Brazil and, most recently, the US.
indeed, during the global financial crisis,
the central bank’s timely injection of dollars into the currency markets was credited
with halting a potentially disastrous slide in
the peso.
mexico was not alone in adopting sound
macro-policies over the past two decades.
ortiz says that the impact of any reversal in
capital flows to latin american economies
should be milder than previous episodes,
in large part because the macroeconomic


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LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013

Latin Finance - Special Edition - August 2013
The Evolution of the Markets 1988-2013
The Future of Latin Finance
"Twenty-five Years Ago, LatinFinance Was Launched With One simple, if Well-worn, Belief: That Crisis Inevitably Gives Way to Opportunity"
Evolution of the Markets & Deals of the Quarter Century
Turnaround Time, for Some
Rising Champions
Locals Wanted
Gaining Pace
A Question of Depth
The Public-Private Balance
Cheaper Borrowing
Keeping It Simple
Local Banks Are Increasingly Stepping Up the Latin League Tables
LatinFinance Charts a Quarter Century of Change for the Biggest Banks in Latin America
LatinFinance Picks Out the Major Turning Points in the Region’s Political, Economic and Financial History Over the Past 25 Years
Governance & Reform
President, Mexico
Former President, Brazil
“the Government Has Not Given Up on What Is Fundamental. but When It Comes to Improving The Lives of Brazilians, There Are Signs It Has Started To Weaken"
Former President, Colombia
Opposition Leader, Venezuela
Former Us Treasury Secretary
Stability & Regulation
Governor, Bank of Mexico
“Latin America Did Very Well During the 2008 Crisis. but It’s Also True That a Lot of Ammunition Was Used”
Chairman, Grupo Financiero Banorte
Former Vice-Chairman, Citigroup
Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Former Governor, Central Bank of Brazil
Former Governor, Central Bank of Venezuela
Former Governor, Central Bank of Argentina
Professor of Economics, Columbia University
Corporates & Capital
CEO and co-CIO, Pimco
CEO, Gávea Investimentos
Founder, Celfin Capital
With Joyce Chang, Richard Frank, Hari Hariharan, Hans Humes, Will Landers, Mark Mobius and Martin Schubert
CEO, Itaú-Unibanco
CEO, Grupo Sura
Chairman, Santander
CFO, América MóVil
Former CEO, Vale
Chairman, Roubini Global Economics
Growth & Development
Former President, Chile
President, CAF
President, IDB
Former President, IDB
Former President, Caribbean Development Bank
President, Centennial Group Latin America
A Look Into the Future With Alternate Visions of Latin America a Quarter Century From Now
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Latin Finance - Special Edition - August 2013
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Cover2
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - The Evolution of the Markets 1988-2013
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - The Future of Latin Finance
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 3
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - "Twenty-five Years Ago, LatinFinance Was Launched With One simple, if Well-worn, Belief: That Crisis Inevitably Gives Way to Opportunity"
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 5
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Evolution of the Markets & Deals of the Quarter Century
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 7
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Turnaround Time, for Some
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 9
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 10
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 11
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Rising Champions
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 13
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 14
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 15
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Locals Wanted
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 17
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Gaining Pace
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 19
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 20
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 21
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - A Question of Depth
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 23
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 24
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 25
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - The Public-Private Balance
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 27
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Cheaper Borrowing
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 29
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Keeping It Simple
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 31
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - LatinFinance Charts a Quarter Century of Change for the Biggest Banks in Latin America
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - G2
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - G4
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - G5
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 34
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 35
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 36
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 37
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 38
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 39
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 40
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 41
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 42
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 43
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 44
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 45
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 46
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 47
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Governance & Reform
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 49
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - President, Mexico
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 51
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - “the Government Has Not Given Up on What Is Fundamental. but When It Comes to Improving The Lives of Brazilians, There Are Signs It Has Started To Weaken"
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 53
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 54
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 55
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former President, Colombia
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 57
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Opposition Leader, Venezuela
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 59
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former Us Treasury Secretary
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 61
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Stability & Regulation
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Governor, Bank of Mexico
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 64
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - B1
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - B2
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 65
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Chairman, Grupo Financiero Banorte
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 67
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former Vice-Chairman, Citigroup
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former Governor, Central Bank of Brazil
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former Governor, Central Bank of Venezuela
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former Governor, Central Bank of Argentina
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 73
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Professor of Economics, Columbia University
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Corporates & Capital
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - CEO and co-CIO, Pimco
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 77
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 78
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 79
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - CEO, Gávea Investimentos
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Founder, Celfin Capital
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - With Joyce Chang, Richard Frank, Hari Hariharan, Hans Humes, Will Landers, Mark Mobius and Martin Schubert
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 83
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 84
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 85
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - CEO, Itaú-Unibanco
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 87
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - CEO, Grupo Sura
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Chairman, Santander
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - CFO, América MóVil
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former CEO, Vale
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Chairman, Roubini Global Economics
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Growth & Development
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former President, Chile
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 95
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - President, CAF
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 97
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - President, IDB
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former President, IDB
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Former President, Caribbean Development Bank
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 101
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - President, Centennial Group Latin America
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - 103
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - A Look Into the Future With Alternate Visions of Latin America a Quarter Century From Now
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Cover3
LatinFinance - Special Edition - August 2013 - Cover4
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