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Debt markets: Has Latin America reached boiling point?

Latin America’s debt market is setting new benchmarks, demonstrating the region’s rapid progress. But are things going too fast? Sudip Roy reports.

IN 1910 MEXICO became engulfed in an armed struggle that lasted more than a decade. The Mexican Revolution, as it came to be called, pitted several different interest groups against each other, turning a battle against the established order into a full-blooded civil war. In the 100 years since, Mexico has changed much, with the establishment of democracy, the passing of economic and social reforms, and a trade agreement with the US and Canada that helped the Latin nation benefit from the growth achieved by its northern neighbours during the second half of the 1990s and early part of this decade. Yet Mexico has also suffered several economic crises, especially in 1982, when the government defaulted on its debt, and in 1994, when the peso was devalued and the banking system went bust.

As with any country, then, Mexico has experienced its fair share of good and bad fortune, although its history has proved more volatile than that of many others. So while Mexico is economically and politically stable now, it takes a brave investor to make a call about Mexico’s situation 100 years hence and the sovereign’s ability to repay a bond in 2110.

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