Western Union shares opened sharply lower on Thursday, trading as low as $19.25 during the first hour of the NYSE open. The precipitous drop was largely driven by uncertainty surrounding President Trump's promise to block remittances if Mexican authorities refuse to pay for the border wall.
Investors are now starting to seriously consider the very real possibility of a ban on remittance flows to Mexico by U.S. President Donald Trump and the knock-on effect this will have on Western Union's bottom line. WU shares began trading today $19.71 - 1.84% lower than yesterday's close at $20.08!
Relations between the Trump administration and the Mexican government took a nosedive today when Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto, canceled a meeting that was scheduled for next week, “This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the scheduled work meeting for next Tuesday with @POTUS,” tweeted President Nieto.
Esta mañana hemos informado a la Casa Blanca que no asistiré a la reunión de trabajo programada para el próximo martes con el @POTUS.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 26, 2017
Responding to Nieto's abrupt cancelation, US President Trump sent out his own tweets that criticized Mexican authorities for not going along with his plans for the border wall, as well as pointing out how Mexico has unfairly benefited from NAFTA over the years:
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
And during his speech to House and Senate GOP lawmakers today, Trump said:
"Unless Mexico will treat the US fairly, with respect, such a meeting is fruitless, and I want to go a different route. I have no choice."While President Trump has not made any definitive statements on cutting off cash flows to Mexico since his election on November 8, he did say during his campaign that Mexico’s refusal to pay for the wall would be grounds for blocking billion of dollars in annual remittance payments sent by Mexican immigrants in the U.S.
Remittance figures for Mexico during November, 2016, show just how seriously Mexican migrants have taken Trump’s rhetoric on blocking remittances.
In the aftermath of Trump’s election, migrants sent a record $2.4 billion back to Mexico in November - 24.7% higher than than November of 2015 - according to data from the Mexican central bank.
Western Union shares recouped some of the initial losses in afternoon trading, closing at $19.59 (-2.44% for the day).