Mexico: Trade balance unexpectedly turns positive in February on faltering imports
April 9, 2013
In February, the trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 46 million. The reading, which came in well below the USD 464 million surplus recorded in the same month last year, defied market expectations that had the trade balance recording a shortfall of USD 1.4 billion. Nevertheless, the moving 12-month sum of the trade balance fell from a USD 2.4 billion deficit in January to a USD 2.8 billion deficit in February.
The main driver behind the monthly surplus was a decline in imports, which swung from a 9.5% expansion in January to a 1.5% contraction in February. As a result, in the 12 months up to February import growth slowed to 4.2% (January: +5.4% year-on-year). Exports also deteriorated, stepping down from a flat growth in January to a 2.9% decline in February. Owing to the contraction, the moving 12-month sum of exports decelerated from a 5.4% expansion in January to a 3.9% increase in February.
LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panellists expect the trade deficit to widen this year, with exports increasing 7.0% and imports rising a stronger 8.5%. For next year, the panel expects the expansion in both export and imports to accelerate to 8.2% and 8.8% respectively.