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Mexico: Trade Balance
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Foreign Trade > Trade Balance


Import growth outstripped export performance in the early 1990s, producing a steadily widening trade deficit. In 1988 Mexico's trade surplus had fallen to US$1.7 billion, and the following year it turned into a US$645 million deficit as imports rose 24 percent against export growth of 11 percent. In 1990 the trade deficit widened to US$4.4 billion, despite a rise in international oil prices resulting from the Persian Gulf War. Petroleum exports rose slightly, and nonoil exports grew 12 percent in 1990, producing total export earnings growth of 18 percent. But total imports increased a much more rapid 34 percent. In 1991 the trade gap widened further to US$7.3 billion, as the level of exports remained steady while imports grew 22 percent. Mexico's trade deficit widened again to US$15.9 billion in 1992. Following a slowdown in import growth in 1993, the trade deficit increased substantially in 1994, the first year under NAFTA. Low interest rates and an overvalued new peso bolstered demand for foreign goods, causing imports to grow an estimated 19 percent. Spurred by the newly devalued currency, Mexico's foreign trade balance swung dramatically back to a US$7.1 billion surplus in 1995, effectively eliminating the country's current account deficit. The trade surplus was US$1.7 billion for the first quarter of 1996, compared with the first quarter of 1995 figure of US$647 million.

Last Updated: June 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 137 of 213


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