Mexico posts first account surplus for years during 2020

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the port of Manzanillo, in Manzanillo, in Colima state, Mexico August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Alan Ortega

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico registered an annual current account surplus for the first time in at least 1 1/2 decades in 2020 as imports declined more sharply than exports during the coronavirus pandemic, central bank said showed on Thursday.

The current account surplus in Latin America’s second-biggest economy was $26.6 billion last year, after a deficit of $4.2 billion during 2019, the bank said.

The surplus represented 2.4% of annual gross domestic product (GDP), and the largest since 1983, the bank said.

During the fourth quarter, the surplus was $17.4 billion, equivalent to 5.8% of GDP over the period.

Data published by the bank showed Mexico had posted an annual current account deficit every year since 2006, the latest one for which figures are available in its online data base.

Preliminary figures published last month by the national statistics office showed that Mexico’s exports fell by 9.3% last year, while imports tumbled by 15.8%.

Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Alexandra Hudson