Mexico Reports Current Account Surplus on Export Strength

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico reported a second-quarter current account surplus of $440 million, surprising economists who had forecast a deficit, as a weaker currency helped boost exports, the central bank said.

The central bank also revised the first quarter current account to a $1.18 billion surplus from a $47 million deficit, according to a report released today on its website. That’s the biggest surplus since at least 1995, according to Banxico data. The median estimate of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a second-quarter deficit of $297 million.

Exports rose 5.8 percent in the three months through June from a year earlier to a record $94.5 billion. Remittances climbed 6.5 percent to $6.5 billion, the highest level since the second quarter of 2008, before the global financial crisis. Income from tourists increased 6 percent to $2.53 billion. The peso fell 4.1 percent in the quarter, touching the lowest level since March 2009 on June 1.

The current account surplus is mostly “due to the considerable trade balance surplus, mainly explained by stronger manufacturing exports, as well as the important positive remittance inflow,” Gabriel Casillas, chief economist and head of research at Grupo Financiero Banorte in Mexico City, said in an e-mail. “The additional piece of information was a lower-than-expected services balance deficit, particularly due to foreign traveler inflows.”

Mexico’s auto industry is booming, with both vehicle production and exports reaching their highest levels in the first seven months of the year for any January to July period, the nation’s Automobile Industry Association, or AMIA, said on Aug. 6. Manufacturers are opening new plants in Mexico as wages in China rise and higher oil prices increase costs for Asian companies looking to tap consumers in the U.S., the world’s largest economy.

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