Bid/Ask: Ar­gentina’s debt deal; Bar­clays wants out of Africa

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - CONTENTS - −Is­abella Cota

Laredo (pop­u­la­tion 252,309) is among the least af­flu­ent cities in Texas, with about 30 per­cent of house­holds liv­ing below the poverty line. Xo­chitl Mora, a spokes­woman for the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment, says the cur­rent slump is noth­ing the city can’t bounce back from. “This is not the first time that bor­der busi­nesses have dealt with Mex­i­can peso de­val­u­a­tions, the Amer­i­can re­ces­sion, or con­versely, the oil and gas boom,” she says. “It is, as they say, the na­ture of the beast.”

Guerra’s not as con­fi­dent. Born in the Mex­i­can state of Nuevo León, she’s lived in Laredo for 40 years, mak­ing dresses from her home and rais­ing three chil­dren be­fore tak­ing the plunge to be­come a small-busi­ness owner four years ago. She in­tends to wind down her busi­ness in May. “I started late in life, but I said, ‘I don’t care.’ And I did it,” she says. “I’m very sad that I have to close my store.”

The bot­tom line A South Texas city runs into two prob­lems at once: a busted shale boom and fall­ing pur­chas­ing power for some of its best cus­tomers.

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