The New York Times
March 25, 2003

Oil Prices Help Mexico's Trade


MEXICO CITY, March 24 High oil prices pushed Mexico's trade balance into a surplus for the first time since June 1997, the finance ministry said today, reporting a $65 million surplus for February.

Mexico exported $1.66 billion in crude oil and other petroleum products in February, an increase of more than 100 percent over February 2002. The average price for Mexican crude reached $27.96 a barrel in February, an increase of $11.86 over last February. Overall, exports grew 8.6 percent over last year.

But exports of manufactured goods, which represent 83.4 percent of Mexico's exports, grew by only 1.1 percent because of the stagnant United States economy. The United States buys more than 90 percent of Mexico's exports and ran a $37.2 billion trade deficit with Mexico last year, according to the United States Department of Commerce.

Imports grew more slowly just 2.6 percent the finance ministry said, because of Mexico's stagnant economy.