FINANCE: A Little Help From Friends

A Little Help From Friends

Mexico has long been a model debtor, keeping current on its interest payments to foreign banks. Even in the face of 20% unemployment, it has stuck to an austerity program that has slashed the country's inflation rate from 15.5% a month in January to less than 1% in September. Luck, however, has not been on the government's side, and the recent plunge in the price of oil, Mexico's principal export, threatens to create a new financial crisis and political unrest.

Last week, following a quick round of negotiations between the U.S. and Mexican officials, Washington announced an emergency $3.5 billion loan...

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