Mexico: Trade balance posts largest surplus on record
May 9, 2013
In March, the trade balance posted a surplus of USD 1.7 billion, which represents, in fact, the largest monthly trade surplus on record. The figure exceeded both the USD 1.6 billion surplus seen in the same month last year and market expectations of a USD 390 million surplus. As a result, the moving 12-month sum of the trade balance improved from a USD 2.9 billion deficit in February to a USD 2.7 billion shortfall in March.
Both exports and imports contracted over the same month last year in March. That said, the improvement in the trade balance reflects that exports stepped up from a 2.9% decline in February to a 1.8% fall. The fall was mostly the result of a sharp drop in oil exports, whereas manufacturing shipments improved. Building on the negative reading, in the 12 months up to March exports decelerated to a 3.4% expansion, from the 3.9% rise seen in the 12 months up to February.
Meanwhile, imports declined at a faster pace, stepping down from a 1.5% annual drop in February to a 2.3% contraction in March, which reflects sharp drop in purchases of intermediate and capital goods. Owing to the contraction, the moving 12-month sum of imports moderated from a 4.2% expansion in February to a 3.7% increase in March.
LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panellists expect export growth accelerating in the months ahead and reaching a 6.7% expansion and imports rising a stronger 8.2%. For next year, the panel expects both exports and imports to accelerate, growing 8.9% and 9.5% respectively.