Here Is The “Secret Weapon” That Allowed Tiny Oil Producer Mexico To Defy Giant Saudi Arabia – NATION AND STATE

Well, no because while that would be the reasonable economic equation for all other OPEC members, Mexico has always had what Bloomberg dubbed a “sector weapon” up its sleeve, one which incentivizes Mexico’s president to either get his way, or watch as oil craters… and get paid billions.

We are talking of course about Mexico’s famous annual oil hedge, which in recent years has manifested itself mostly in the form of billions of dollars spent on oil puts, which we profiled extensively back in 2016 and 2017.

As Bloomberg’s Javier Blas, who has closely followed Mexico’s oil hedgers in the recent past writes, for the last two decades, Mexico has bought “Asian” style put options from some of the most prominent US investment banks and oil companies, in what’s considered Wall Street’s largest – and most closely guarded – annual oil deal. The options give Mexico the right to sell its oil at a predetermined price. They are the equivalent of an insurance policy: the country banks all gains from higher prices but enjoys the security of a minimum floor. So – unlike all of its OPEC peers – if oil prices remain weak or plunge even further, Mexico will still book higher prices.

… In recent years, Mexico has spent an average $1 billion buying the hedges. The hedge first appeared in 2001, when Mexico made a tentative showing, spending just $217.3 million on put options, a fraction of the approximately $1 billion a year it would spend later. In 2003 and 2004, with oil prices rising, the country opted not to hedge at all. The strategy came into its own in 2005: Mexico has hedged every year since without interruption, giving it a unique peace of mind that should a worst case scenario happen, it would be able to sleep soundly a t night. Agustín Carstens, who later became head of the central bank, was finance minister when a massive $5.1 billion payout came in 2009; some government officials also refer to the annual oil bet as “the Agustínian hedge”; then in 2015, after the OPEC Thanksgiving massacre of 2015, the hedge made $6.4 billion and another $2.7 billion in 2016 after Saudi Arabia waged another failed price war aimed to crushing US shale producers.