January 9, 2020 / 7:13 PM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Mexican finance ministry declines to reveal cost of 2020 oil hedge

(Adds deputy finance minister comments)

MEXICO CITY, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Mexican Finance Minister Arturo Herrera on Thursday said the country’s annual oil hedge costs “around $1 billion,” but declined to give a precise figure for how much was spent on the program for 2020.

Asked by reporters how much Mexico had spent on the hedge for this year, Herrera said: “The hedge costs around $1 billion dollars.”

His deputy later said the ministry would not reveal the precise cost to avoid market players knowing when Mexico was hedging.

If Mexico showed its hand, it would raise the cost of the premiums the government paid for the hedge, Deputy Finance Minister Gabriel Yorio told reporters.

The current Mexican government has released less information about the 2020 program than its predecessors.

The government is under pressure to be more transparent about the world’s largest financial oil deal, which aims to protect Latin America’s no. 2 economy against oil price crashes.

Last week, the government said it completed its 2020 program at $49 a barrel. But for the first time since at least 2001, it did not disclose the program’s overall cost.

Earlier this week, after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters the finance ministry would give more information about the cost, Herrera said he would address the matter on Thursday.

Yorio said the average cost of the program over the years was $1.2 billion annually. He described the program as valuable, but said he could not confirm or deny whether Mexico would start it again in the coming year. (Reporting by Sharay Angulo Editing by Dave Graham and Bernadette Baum)

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