Mexico ETFs Have Slid the Past Month as Border Tensions Escalate

As U.S.-Mexico border tensions escalate, the momentum of Mexico-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs) like the iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWW) and Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X ShsETF (NYSEArca: MEXX) have become tenuous the past month as the country’s newest president is set to take office.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, typically referred to as AMLO for short, will begin his six-year term as Mexico’s new president on Saturday, December 1. AMLO will inherit a host of issues to fix, but as the country faces an influx of migrants from Central America who have congregated near the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, this latest development has come to the forefront of his expansive task list.

EWW tracks the investment results of the MSCI Mexico IMI 25/50 Index, which is a free float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted index with a capping methodology applied to issuer weights so that no single issuer of a component exceeds 25% of the underlying index weight, and all issuers with a weight above 5% do not cumulatively exceed 50% of the underlying index weight. MEXX tracks the same index, but provides investors with 300% leverage.

EWW has fallen about 10% within the past month, while MEXX has fallen 30% with thrice the leverage. However, how Lopez-Obrador handles the U.S.-Mexico border situation will most certainly weigh heavily on the performance of these ETFs going forward.

New Mexico President Will Face Baptism by Fire

Mexico’s recent change in leadership saw the controversial leftist candidate AMLO become its next president. Much like U.S. President Donald Trump, Obrador’s election sparked controversy, but public opinion may be swaying towards his side as the LA Times reported that “little more than a week he has gone from being denounced as a looming threat to stability, a Mexican incarnation of the late Venezuelan leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, to being the darling of Mexico.”

That relationship with the very individual he was compared to prior to his election will be tested as U.S.-Mexico relations regarding the border situation have reached stratospheric levels in terms of media attention. With President Trump coming under fire as images of U.S. border patrol agents teargassing migrant women and children flooded media outlets, the situation has become only more tense.

“They’re not coming into the United States. They will not be coming into our country,” Trump said of the border situation, noting that such means weren’t used on children, but his political opponents think otherwise.

In the meantime, the number of migrants heading into Mexico from Central American countries like Honduras continues to multiply exponentially as they attempt to seek asylum within the United States. In the meantime, the number of those applying for asylum legally outweighs the number of immigration officials that can process the requests, causing a situation in Mexico where the country could be overrun by overcrowded migrant camps and shelters.