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February 1997 - June 2001. Contingent dollar sales mechanism

In February 1997, the Foreign Exchange Commission, composed of officials from the Ministry of Finance and Banco de México and responsible for Mexico's foreign exchange policy) announced the establishment of an auction mechanism to sell US dollars. This mechanism was implemented in order to ease the volatility in the foreign exchange market without violating the principles inherent in the prevailing floating exchange rate regime (see the Exchange Commission Statement and Banco de México's Circular 10/97). Implementation of the mechanism was possible due to a significant accumulation of reserves, mainly achieved through the auction of foreign exchange options.

Under this mechanism, Banco de México undertook daily sales of up to USD 200 million, with a minimum price for the dollar set at 1.02 times the Mexican peso, as determined by the FIX on the preceding day. If any bids were allocated during the auction, the minimum price for the dollar on the following day was set at 1.02 times the weighted average peso exchange rate determined in the auction.

The contingent dollar sales mechanism was effective until June 2001. It was triggered and implemented only fourteen days during the entire period, for a total amount of USD 1.950 billion sold. Furthermore, almost 60% of total dollar sales took place between August 1998 and January 1999, a period that was characterized by very high volatility in international financial markets.