Mexico Registers Surprise April Trade Surplus

By Anthony Harrup Features Dow Jones Newswires

Mexico chalked up an unexpected $617 million trade surplus in April as higher oil and factory exports combined with a drop in imports of nonpetroleum goods.

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Exports last month rose 3.6% to $31.48 billion from the same period a year earlier, while imports fell 5% to $30.87 billion, the National Statistics Institute said Thursday. The surplus brought the trade balance for the first four months of the year to a deficit of $2.16 billion.

The April surplus compared with an expected deficit of $1.59 billion, according to the median estimate of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Petroleum exports rose 26.9% in April to $1.68 billion thanks largely to higher crude-oil prices. Crude exports by volume were little changed from March and from a year earlier at 1.02 million barrels a day.

Exports of manufactured goods increased a modest 1.9% from a year ago, with growth likely affected by the Easter holiday week that fell in April this year compared with March of 2016. Vehicles and auto-parts shipments abroad rose 1.5% and other factory exports were 2.1% higher.

Most categories of imports were lower than a year before, except for petroleum products which increased 15.4% to $2.87 billion. Mexico exports crude oil, but imports large quantities of gasoline, diesel and natural gas.

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Non-oil consumer goods imports fell 7.2%, intermediate goods used in production processes declined 5.3%, and imports of equipment and machinery slid 4.9%.

Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 25, 2017 10:10 ET (14:10 GMT)