For Mexico’s biggest winners and losers in 2015, peso was king

Mexican currency's 15% depreciation fuels stock performance.
Mexican currency’s 15% depreciation fuels stock performance.

By Benjamin Bain and Nacha Cattan / Bloomberg

It wasn’t just currency traders watching the Mexican peso in 2015 as it tumbled to a record. The biggest gains and losses on the stock market were also driven by the currency’s slide.

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, the airport operator known as GAP that serves cities including Puerto Vallarta, led advances on the benchmark index with a 66 percent gain as U.S. travelers flocked to the Latin American nation to take advantage of a strong dollar.

Meanwhile the peso’s worst year in eight pushed builder Empresas ICA, which had debt in dollars and revenue primarily from domestic projects, to default on $1.35 billion in bonds as its shares tumbled 80 percent. The IPC index lost 0.3 percent in 2015.

The peso slid 15 percent in 2015 as falling crude prices damped investment in the energy industry and expectations for U.S. interest-rate increases boosted demand for greenbacks. Even as constitutional changes to open the oil and telecommunications industries prompted more competition and helped fuel a region-leading seven initial public offerings this year, the currency’s plunge dominated the performance of many shares on the exchange.

“It had a direct impact on the winners and losers this year,” Aldo Miranda, an equity sales trader at CI Casa de Bolsa, said in a telephone interview from Mexico City.

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