MEXICO CITY–Mexico chalked up a $3.39 billion trade surplus in March as the country‘s imports fell across all categories of goods and exports slipped from the year-earlier month led by lower oil prices.
Exports were down 1.6% from March of 2019, at $38.4 billion, while imports dropped 6.7%, to $35.01 billion, the National Statistics Institute said Tuesday.
A $1.98 billion deficit in petroleum trade was offset by a $5.37 billion surplus in the exchange of nonpetroleum goods.
The drop in crude oil prices led to a 47% decline in the value of petroleum exports, as Mexico exported 1.13 million barrels a day of crude oil at $29.12 per barrel, compared with 1.15 million barrels a day at $58.91 a barrel in March 2019.
Oil prices have fallen further in April on a drop in global demand as more economies shut down over the coronavirus pandemic, with Mexico‘s average crude oil price currently below $10. The estimated price for a barrel of Mexican crude on Monday was $6.55.
Petroleum imports, including gasoline and natural gas, fell 21% last month, while nonpetroleum exports fell 5.1%.
Exports of manufactured goods, which are sent mostly to the U.S., slipped 0.1%, to $34.32 billion, with shipments of vehicles and auto parts down 5% and other factory-made goods up 3.1%. Agricultural and mining exports rose from a year earlier.
Imports of nonpetroleum intermediate goods used in production chains were down 2.9%, while consumer goods imports, also excluding petroleum, fell 9%. Imports of equipment and machinery were down 18% from a year before.
The March results brought to $3.89 billion the surplus in goods trade for the first quarter of 2020.
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