July 27, 2020 / 6:30 PM / 12 days ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico posts record trade surplus, but exports still in the red

(Adds context, comment from economist)

MEXICO CITY, July 27 (Reuters) - Mexico posted a record trade surplus in June as business activity began recovering from months of lockdown, but exports remained well below 2019 levels due to the ongoing ravages of coronavirus in North America, official data showed on Monday.

Adjusted for seasonal swings, Mexico registered a $4.619 billion trade surplus with the rest of the world last month, easily the largest total since current records began in 1993, according to data from national statistics agency INEGI.

Still, the surplus was well below the combined deficit of over $8.2 billion logged in April and May, the months when economic lockdown was at its most severe, the figures showed.

Mexico sends around 80% of its exports to the United States, and the spread of coronavirus in both countries is holding back hoped-for recoveries.

Mexico’s seasonally adjusted goods exports jumped by 75.6% in June compared with the previous month, but they were still down by 18.3% in comparison with the same month a year earlier. In May, Mexican exports plummeted by 54.2% year-on-year.

Gabriela Siller, an economist at Banco Base, said in a research note that trade still faces serious risks given the jump in U.S. coronavirus cases and Mexico’s failure to get the pandemic under control.

“That means the economic reopening has been more gradual than first expected, impacting supply chains,” she said. (Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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