UPDATE 2-Mexico peso hits record low, analysts blame bondholders
(Adds closing peso price)
By Michael O'Boyle
MEXICO CITY Feb 9 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso sank to a record low on Tuesday, pressured by what analysts described as bets against riskier assets in general and a move by investors to hedge big positions in local bonds.
The peso tumbled to an all-time low of 18.9350 per dollar as fears of a global slowdown pushed investors to safe-haven currencies like the Japanese yen and Swiss franc.
The currency pared losses to close at 18.80 per dollar, down 0.8 percent versus Monday, but analysts expect the peso to face further losses ahead amid a rout in emerging market assets.
Oil prices fell 6 percent, hurting the peso which often trades off oil prices. While Mexico is a major crude producer, its economy is far more dependent on its factory exports.
"There is a lot of panic in the global market," said Benito Berber, an analyst at Nomura in New York, who said the peso's slump "doesn't have a lot to do with Mexico itself."
Mexico's peso is among the most liquid global currencies, which often makes it the most convenient asset to bet against whenever global sentiment turns sour against riskier assets in general.
That liquidity is partly behind why the peso has suffered deeper losses so far this year than Brazil's real, Russia's rouble or South Africa's rand - all currencies linked to countries with crises spurred by poor local policymaking. Continuación...