Mexico Chalks Up $399 Million November Trade Surplus

By Anthony Harrup Features Dow Jones Newswires

Mexico registered a $399 million trade surplus in November, shipping out more manufactured goods and crude oil than a year before while imports also expanded but at a slower pace.

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Exports rose 9.2% from November 2016 to $37.48 billion, and imports grew 8.2% to $37.08 billion, the National Statistics Institute said Wednesday.

A 7.5% increase in shipments abroad of manufactured goods, including 11.6% more vehicles and auto parts, contributed to a $1.93 billion surplus in nonpetroleum trade, partially offset by a $1.53 billion deficit in petroleum trade.

The Mexican auto industry produced and exported record numbers of cars and light trucks this year, and by the end of November had surpassed levels reached in all of 2016. The expansion has put the industry in the spotlight of trade talks with the U.S. and Canada to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Auto industries in all three countries have expressed opposition to a U.S. proposal to increase the minimum North American content in cars imported into the U.S. -- including 50% U.S. content -- arguing that such a change would be unworkable and disrupt highly integrated supply chains. A sixth round of trade talks is scheduled for January.

Mexico enjoys a trade surplus with the U.S., but also buys much of its gasoline and natural gas from north of the border.

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State oil company Petróleos Mexicanos exported 1.388 million barrels a day of crude oil in November, up from 1.342 million the previous month and 1.273 million barrels a day in November of 2016, although less than half went to the U.S. The average price was $52.90 per barrel, compared with $38.88 a year before and $49.24 in October.

Although Mexico exported more crude oil, it also saw a big jump in imports of refined products, including gasoline which rose to 638,000 barrels a day from 576,000 barrels a day a year earlier.

Imports of producer goods such as materials and components used in manufacturing rose 7.4% from November 2016. The country brought in 4.8% more foreign-made consumer goods, and imported 5.9% more in machinery and equipment.

The November surplus brought the overall trade deficit for the first 11 months of the year to $10.72 billion, the result of a $5.95 billion surplus in nonpetroleum goods and a $16.67 billion deficit in petroleum.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2017 10:33 ET (15:33 GMT)