Agustín Carstens

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Agustín Carstens
General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements
Assumed office
1 December 2017
ChairJens Weidmann
Preceded byJaime Caruana
Governor of the Bank of Mexico
In office
1 January 2010 – 30 November 2017
Preceded byGuillermo Ortiz Martínez
Succeeded byAlejandro Díaz de León
Secretary of Finance and Public Credit
In office
1 December 2006 – 9 December 2009
PresidentFelipe Calderón
Preceded byFrancisco Gil Díaz
Succeeded byErnesto Cordero
Personal details
Born (1958-06-09) 9 June 1958 (age 65)
Mexico City, Mexico
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
SpouseCatherine Mansell
EducationMexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (BA)
University of Chicago (MA, PhD)

Agustín Guillermo Carstens Carstens (born 9 June 1958 in Mexico City)[1] is a Mexican economist who has served as the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements since 1 December 2017. He served as governor of the Bank of Mexico from 1 January 2010 to 30 November 2017.[2] In 2011, Carstens, along with Christine Lagarde, was one of the two final candidates to become the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.[3] He previously served as secretary of finance in the cabinet of Felipe Calderón (2006–09), as deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (2003–06)[1] and as treasurer of the Bank of Mexico. In 2011 he was included in the 50 Most Influential ranking of Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Carstens took up his appointment as the general manager at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, where he was appointed to a five-year term, starting on 1 December 2017.[4][5]

Early years[edit]

Carstens graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM). After working as an intern in the Bank of Mexico he received a scholarship and completed both a master's degree (1983) and a doctorate in economics (1985) at the University of Chicago.[6] His thesis advisor was Michael Mussa, former economic counselor and director of the Department of Research at the International Monetary Fund from 1991 to 2001.[7]

He is married to Catherine Mansell, an American academic, writer and economist who has authored several books on finance and on literary fiction and nonfiction under the pen name C. M. Mayo.[8]

In the mid-1980s Carstens returned to Mexico and rejoined the Bank of Mexico. Before turning thirty he was appointed treasurer, effectively taking charge of the national reserves. Rising through the ranks in the early 1990s, he was appointed chief of staff of chairman Miguel Mancera, and served as Director General of Economic Research at the end of the 1990s, in charge of designing the Bank's economic policy with Governor Guillermo Ortiz Martínez in the aftermath of the Tequila Crisis and the Russian default crisis. While at the bank he produced several research articles on the Mexican economy and, in particular, co-authored an analysis of the Mexican Crisis along with then Deputy Governor Francisco Gil Díaz, which suggests the Mexican crisis was to a large extent an avoidable run on the Mexican peso brought about by external circumstances and political problems.[9]

International Monetary Fund[edit]

Sitting between the minister of finance and the president of the Bank of Guatemala after an official visit to the country, on 8 July 2005.
U.S. Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Agustín Carstens signing a Letter of Intent that aimed to increase security in both countries and facilitate the flow of legal travel and trade, June 2009

After many years at the Bank of Mexico, Carstens took a position at the IMF and served as the deputy managing director – one of three deputies reporting to the director and the board— from 1 August 2003 to 16 October 2006.[1]

Carstens left the IMF to coordinate the economic policy program of Felipe Calderón, then president-elect of Mexico, who appointed him as secretary of finance shortly after the election was validated.[10]

Secretary of Finance[edit]

On 26 March 2007, Carstens was additionally appointed new chairman of the joint World Bank/IMF Development Committee, a position customarily occupied by a developing country finance minister.[11]

As secretary, Carstens took the unconventional decision to hedge Mexico's oil earnings for 2009 against possible price falls, leading to an $8 billion profit for the country.[12]

In the aftermath of the 2007 popular protests against rising food prices, Carstens regarded high food prices as a positive driver for investment in agriculture.[citation needed]

Bank of Mexico[edit]

Carstens was nominated to the Bank of Mexico on 9 December 2009 by President Felipe Calderón,[13] replacing 12-year veteran Guillermo Ortiz, who reduced inflation from double digits to 4 percent by the end of 2009.[14] He was confirmed by the Senate on 15 December 2009 with 81 votes in favor and 19 votes against.[2]

Economic views[edit]

He identifies five characteristics of business cycles in emerging economies that distinguish them from those in industrialized nations:[15]

  1. Business cycles in emerging economies are strongly tied to those in industrialized nations.
  2. Cycles in emerging economies are more volatile
  3. Volatility of emerging economies can be affected by additional factors that don't affect industrialized economies, such as price fluctuations
  4. Rapid capital outflows made possible under corporate globalization can have severely harmful effects on emerging economies
  5. Emerging economies are subject to the problems associated with exchange-rate regimes

Carstens claims that the solution to these problems is for emerging nations to:[15]

  1. Adopt more open trade and investment regimes
  2. Allow market control of interest rates
  3. Ensure that their banks are robust enough to handle severe macroeconomic changes
  4. Enact structural changes such as central bank autonomy, privatization of production, reduced regulations over labor markets and reduced dependence on foreign savings


  1. ^ a b c "Agustín Carstens: Biographical Information". International Monetary Fund. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b Rojas, Luis; Grebler, Dan & Craft, Diane (15 December 2009). "Mexico's Senate confirms Carstens as cenbank head". Forbes. Reuters. Retrieved 15 December 2009.[dead link]
  3. ^ "IMF shortlists Christine Lagarde and Agustin Carstens". BBC News. 13 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Bank of Mexico's Agustín Carstens Leaving to Lead Bank for International Settlements". The Wall Street Journal. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Agustín Carstens renuncia al Banco de México". El Universal (in Spanish). 1 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  6. ^ Cárdenas Estandía, Rogelio (17 October 2006). "Entrevista a Agustín Carstens" (in Spanish). El Financiero. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  7. ^ Carstens, Agustín (September 2005). "IMF Conference in Honor of Michael Mussa: MussaFest – Opening Remarks". IMF Staff Papers. International Monetary Fund. pp. 1–5. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2011. I took several courses with Mike, and he was generous enough to direct my thesis dissertation in the mid-1980s.
  8. ^ "Catherine Mansell, el apoyo de Carstens". El Universal (in Spanish). 16 October 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
  9. ^ Carstens, Agustín; Gil Díaz, Francisco. "Some Hypotheses RelatedTo The Mexican 1994–95 Crisis" (PDF). Bank of Mexico. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Mexico's Calderon names Carstens finance minister". Reuters. 21 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2 January 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2006.
  11. ^ "Mexico's Minister of Finance Agustin Carstens Becomes Development Committee chairman". World Bank. 27 March 2007. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  12. ^ Blas, Javier (7 September 2009). "Mexico to enjoy $8bn windfall from oil bet". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  13. ^ Gould, Jens; Martínez, Andrés (9 December 2009). "Calderon Nominates Carstens for Mexico Central Bank". Bloomberg. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  14. ^ Malkin, Elisabeth (9 December 2009). "New Chief Nominated for Mexico's Central Bank". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  15. ^ a b Fuhrer, Jeffrey C.; Schuh, Scott (2002). "Beyond Shocks; What causes business cycles?; An Overview". In Rabin, Jack; Stevens, Glenn L. (eds.). Handbook of monetary policy. CRC Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-8247-0578-7.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of Finance and Public Credit
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Governor of the Bank of Mexico
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements