By Alexandra Alper and Luis Rojas
MEXICO CITY, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Foreign investor inflows to Mexican stocks and bonds picked up slightly in the fourth quarter, helping Mexico narrow its current account balance of payments deficit, a central bank report showed on Tuesday.
Foreign portfolio investment in Mexican stocks as well as corporate and government debt picked up to about $17.182 billion in the October to December period, higher than $16.914 billion registered in the third quarter, the central bank said in a statement.
Investors stuck with Latin America’s second economy during the fourth quarter, even after the Fed shaved $10 billion from its monthly monetary stimulus in December and by an equal amount in January.
For years, the monetary stimulus program has fueled appetite for higher-yielding emerging market assets. Investor concerns over the Fed’s first steps to wind it down helped contributed to a rout in emerging markets early this year.
Meanwhile, investment by foreigners in Mexican factories and businesses rose to $5.419 billion, up from the third quarter when foreign direct investment (FDI) reached $3.181 billion.
FDI had hit over $19 billion in the second quarter due to beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ABI.BR acquisition of Grupo Modelo.
Mexico’s current account deficit reached $4.66 billion in the fourth quarter, the central bank said on Tuesday, narrowing from a revised $5.662 billion deficit in the third quarter.
The current account deficit for the full year of 2013 was the equivalent of 1.8 percent of gross domestic product, the central bank said.
The current account is a broad measure of a country’s foreign transactions, encompassing trade, workers’ remittances and services like tourism. It is a gauge of a country’s reliance on foreign capital.