Mexican peso tumbles to 14-month low

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Mexico City (AFP)

The Mexican peso fell Friday to its lowest level in 14 months against the dollar, hit by fears over rocky negotiations for an updated trade deal between Mexico, the United States and Canada.

The peso closed down 1.3 percent, at 19.94 to the dollar, according to the central bank -- its lowest level since March 2, 2017.

The strong US economy has led to a global dollar rally, punishing many emerging-market currencies in recent weeks, notably the Argentine peso and Turkish lira.

Mexico has avoided forex carnage so far, but the drawn-out renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- seen as vital to the Mexican economy -- is starting to cause jitters.

An informal deadline to reach a new deal by Thursday, set by the US Congress, passed without a breakthrough.

Mexico and Canada remained upbeat, saying a deal was close. But US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said negotiators were "nowhere near" an agreement.

The talks were launched in August at the behest of US President Donald Trump, who has called NAFTA the worst deal ever signed.

They have hit several stumbling blocks, in particular over US demands for a five-year "sunset clause" and an increase in the amount of American content in cars.