Mexico’s Trade Deficit Surprisingly Spreads as Fuel Imports Surge

Revenue from crude exports has been the backbone of AMLO’s plan to subsidize gasoline prices at the pump for consumers

The deficit reached $3.96 billion last month, more than three times what economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated.
By Maya Averbuch
July 27, 2022 | 08:25 PM

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Bloomberg — Mexico’s trade deficit unexpectedly widened in June as imports of fuel and other products jumped, eclipsing an increase in export revenue.

The deficit reached $3.96 billion last month, more than three times what economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated. While imports grew 32% on an annual basis, driven up by a 96% jump in petroleum products, exports rose 20%, extending an upward trend that’s been supported by a rebound in the manufacturing sector.

“The price of refined products is eating up the gains from efforts to export crude,” said Andres Abadia, chief Latin America economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

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Mexico's deficit is growing due to high energy pricesdfd

Revenue from crude exports has been the backbone of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan to subsidize gasoline prices at the pump for consumers, which could cost $24 billion in 2022.

High oil prices could become a further drag, but some economists are optimistic that the recovery of the auto trade and the steady growth in US-Mexico border manufacturing could make up for some of it.

“Import data show us that demand is healthy and, on the other hand, exports of autos and manufactured goods are still growing,” said Joan Enric Domene Camacho, senior economist at Oxford Economics. “Having a deficit is not a symptom or a sign that something is going badly in the economy, to the contrary.”

Read more at Bloomberg.com