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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 9, 1995


On January 31, 1995, I determined pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 5302(b) that the economic crisis in Mexico posed "unique and emergency circumstances" that justified the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) to provide loans and credits with maturities of greater than 6 months to the Government of Mexico and the Bank of Mexico. Consistent with the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 5302(b), I am hereby notifying the Congress of that determination. The congressional leadership issued a joint statement with me on January 31, 1995, in which we all agreed that such use of the ESF was a necessary and appropriate response to the Mexican financial crisis and in the United States' vital national interest.

On February 21, 1995, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Mexican Secretary of Finance and Public Credit signed four agreements that provide the framework and specific legal arrangements under which up to $20 billion in support will be made available from the ESF to the Government of Mexico and the Bank of Mexico. Under these agreements, the United States will provide three forms of support to Mexico: short-term swaps through which Mexico borrows dollars for 90 days and that can be rolled over for up to 1 year; medium-term swaps through which Mexico can borrow dollars for up to 5 years; and securities guarantees having maturities of up to 10 years.

Repayment of these loans and guarantees is backed by revenues from the export of crude oil and petroleum products formalized in an agreement signed by the United States, the Government of Mexico, and the Mexican government's oil company. In addition, as added protection in the unlikely event of default, the United States is requiring Mexico to maintain the value of the pesos it deposits with the United States in connection with the medium-term swaps. Therefore, should the rate of exchange of the peso against the U.S. dollar drop during the time the United States holds pesos, Mexico would be required to provide the United States with enough additional pesos to reflect the rate of exchange prevailing at the conclusion of the swap.

I am enclosing a Fact Sheet prepared by the Department of the Treasury that provides greater details concerning the terms of the four agreements. I am also enclosing a summary of the economic policy actions that the Government of Mexico and the Central Bank have agreed to take as a condition of receiving assistance.

The agreements we have signed with Mexico are part of a multilateral effort involving contributions from other countries and multilateral institutions. The Board of the International Monetary Fund has approved up to $17.8 billion in medium-term assistance for Mexico, subject to Mexico's meeting appropriate economic conditions. Of this amount, $7.8 billion has already been disbursed, and additional conditional assistance will become available beginning in July of this year. In addition, the Bank for International Settlements is expected to provide $10 billion in short-term assistance.

The current Mexican financial crisis is a liquidity crisis that has had a significant destabilizing effect on the exchange rate of the peso, with consequences for the overall exchange rate system. The spill-over effects of inaction in response to this crisis would be significant for other emerging market economies, particularly those in Latin America, as well as for the United States. Using the ESF to respond to this crisis is therefore plainly consistent with the purpose of 31 U.S.C. 5302(b): to give the United States the ability to take action consistent with its obligations in the International Monetary Fund to assure orderly exchange arrangements and a stable system of exchange rates.

The Mexican peso crisis erupted with such suddenness and in such magnitude as to render the usual short-term approaches to a liquidity crisis inadequate to address the problem. To resolve problems arising from Mexico's short-term debt burden, longer term solutions are necessary in order to avoid further pressure on the exchange rate of the peso. These facts present unique and emergency circumstances, and it is therefore both appropriate and necessary to make the ESF available to extend credits and loans to Mexico in excess of 6 months.



March 9, 1995.

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