The Falling Peso

In the past year, the Mexican peso has lost more than 25 percent of it’s value. A year ago it traded at 13.20 pesos to the dollar. Today it trades at 16.83 pesos to the dollar. Because of regional economies, that’s not the exchange rate you’ll get at the casas de cambio on Avenida Juarez. But those numbers, from this website, are representative.

So what’s that mean to you?

Well, Juarez is cheaper. Not that Cheap is the reason to go to Juarez. Fun is the reason to go to Juarez. But still.

A margarita at the Kentucky Club now costs $2.50. That’s like 1985 Happy Hour prices. That means you can drink six margaritas and leave a $5 tip and only be out twenty bucks.

The lines to get back into the U.S. are shorter. The data’s not available yet, but anecdotal evidence indicates that bridge crossings from Juarez are way down. I went over late Friday afternoon, and the line of cars crossing into the U.S. wasn’t to the top of the bridge. Friday afternoon is prime time for Mexicans visiting El Paso. U.S. Customs had already shut down the x-ray machines by the time I came back, like at ten. There were almost as many agents working as there were pedestrians crossing. Practically no waiting.

American goods are more expensive for Mexican shoppers, so businesses that depend on Mexican customers will suffer. Sales tax receipts will be down. I know that some Mexicans get refunds for their sales tax, but mostly that’s only worth it for big ticket items. None of those shoppers on South El Paso Street file manifiestos.

So a falling peso isn’t all good news.

But still. Six margaritas at the Kentucky Club for twenty rats, tip included.

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