By Anthony Harrup
MEXICO CITY--Mexico ran up a $3.09 billion trade deficit in April as the shutdown of many industries to counter the spread of the coronavirus and the drop in world oil prices led to steep declines in both exports and imports.
Exports last month fell 41% from April of 2019 to $23.38 billion, while imports were down 30% at $26.47 billion, the National Statistics Institute said Monday.
Petroleum exports fell 66% to $758 million as a result of the collapse in oil prices. The price of Mexican crude oil averaged $14.18 last month, down from $61.86 in April of 2019. Crude exports by volume increased to 1.18 million barrels per day from 1.02 million barrels per day a year before.
The drop in oil prices also contributed to a 53% decrease in petroleum imports to $2.04 billion.
Exports of manufactured goods fell 42% to $20.31 billion, with shipments of vehicles and auto parts down 79% and other manufactured goods down 21%. Mexico's auto industry, considered nonessential, was shut down for all of April, and production of cars and light trucks fell 99% from a year before.
The auto industry was changed to essential as of May 18, and plants were allowed to start reopening once they have new health and safety protocols in place.
Imports of intermediate goods, such as components for industrial processes, fell 28% in April from the year before, and consumer goods imports excluding gasoline fell 38%. Imports of equipment and machinery were down 27%.
The April deficit brought the trade balance for the first four months of the year to a surplus of $635 million.
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