Talk about a "carry trade."
Mexico's Federal Mint Headquarters was looted yesterday during the day, with armed thieves making off with invaluable items, including gold coins, from a vault, according to Reuters and the South Wales Guardian. The incident happened at a "Casa de Moneda" branch located in Mexico City, which as we reported last week has succumbed to the deadliest violence on record.
City Public Security Secretary Jesus Orta Martinez was quoted on Mexican news as saying that that three armed men disarmed security guards at the offices and, in a scene right out of the movie Heat, "went straight to the vault, which was open."
"The line of investigation...is that there were deficiencies in the security protocol," he continued.
“It is striking that they went directly to the vault, and that they easily removed, or stole, coins... and commemorative watches.”
The armed robbers were described as "clean cut, young looking men" and are said to have stolen gold coins, watches and other valuables. One robber reportedly filled a backpack with 1,567 gold coins, each of which are valued at about $1,610, according to Mexican bank Banorte. This would put a price of at least $2.5 million on the robbery. Local Mexican media is reporting that the stolen items were worth up to 50 million pesos, or about $2 million U.S.
But regardless if the take was $2 million or $2.5 million, it's been a successful "carry trade" for the robbers in more ways than one. Gold futures skyrocketed again on Wednesday, up about 2.2% to $1516 near the U.S. equity market cash close while spot continued its three day, $70 run, finally breaking the $1500 mark.
Mexico first printed 50 peso gold coins in 1921 to commemorate 100 years of independence. They're now bought and sold by investors as their value changes with the price of gold.
Coincidentally, the same "Casa de Moneda" branch was broken into last year while the building was under renovation. The robbery marks the latest in an increasing string of crime in Mexico City, where record lawlessness has hit the city. Since the new leftist government took charge of Mexico City in 2018, critics have claimed that violence has "spun out of control."
We also reported just weeks ago that Mexico City's new government alleged that the city had been under-reporting crime statistics.
A Mexican media report of the robbery, including security footage, can be seen here: