Polls? Who needs ’em.If you want to know how Donald Trump is doing, all you need to do is check the Mexican peso.Over the past four months, Mexico’s currency has repeatedly declined when Trump’s election outlook improves and rallied when his odds of winning slump.The peso tumbled to a 2 1/2-month low Monday after his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, canceled a two-day trip to California because she’s suffering from pneumonia.The presidential campaign has kept Juan Carlos Alderete busy. The 32-year-old head of currency strategy for Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB in Mexico City said phone calls from clients such as pension and mutual funds jumped 50 percent in July, when Trump improved his showing in predictive models like FiveThirtyEight during the Republican and Democratic conventions.Alderete has become a U.S. political junkie, closely following the daily movements and speeches of the two candidates — particularly the one who pledges to end or overhaul Nafta and make Mexico pay for a $10 billion border wall.
The Mexican peso’s exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, which has normally traded at 12:1, recently jumped to 19:1, putting a serious pinch on Mexicans’ wallets. For Mexicans, the widening exchange rate means it has suddenly become nearly twice as expensive to travel to the U.S. or buy U.S. goods.As a result, currency exchange rates and inflation have strangely become the talk of the town — and not just among economists, but all Mexicans. Young people especially are slamming the government for trying to downplay the effects of depreciating currency on their daily lives.
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