Depressed Energy Prices Cause Decline in U.S.-Mexico Trade


2/23/2016 Forbes.com

By Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute

forbesFrom 2009-2014, U.S.-Mexico trade skyrocketed. Bilateral trade grew 75%, faster than U.S. trade with any other major trading partner, including China (61%), and importantly, both imports and exports were growing rapidly. In 2015, trade growth came to a screeching halt, though strong fundamentals suggest this may be more of a temporary blip than a new trajectory.

The Census Bureau recently released U.S. merchandise trade statistics for 2015, and though Mexico is still the United States’ second largest export market and third largest overall trading partner, for the first time since the economic crisis of 2008-2009, U.S.-Mexico trade declined from the previous year’s level. Interestingly, as shown in the graph below, U.S.-Canada trade dropped sharply in 2015, allowing China to become the United States’ top trading partner. In 2014, the two countries traded $534.3 billion, but in 2015 that number fell to $531.1, a decline of some $3.2 billion dollars. U.S. imports from Mexico basically held steady, growing from $294.1 to $294.7 billion, although this apparent stagnation masks multiple underlying trends. Exports, on the other hand, dropped some $3.8 billion. This brief analysis examines recent trends in bilateral trade and their implications for the future of U.S. and Mexican economies.

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Nissan In Mexico: Japanese Automaker Exports 5 Millionth Car From Its Mexican Manufacturing Base

8/18/2015 International Business Times

To give you a sense of just how fast Mexico is becoming a major automotive manufacturing hub, consider this: For its first three decades of sending its Mexican-made cars abroad, Nissan exported roughly 33,000 cars and trucks every year. But since 2002, that number has topped 307,000 units annually, a nearly tenfold average annual increase.

On Monday, Nissan announced that a red NP300 pickup truck became its 5 millionth Mexican-made export since the Japanese automaker began sending its vehicles from Mexico to the United States in 1972. That’s up from 4 million in 2013, which means the export pace has accelerated to about a half-million cars annually in the past two years.

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Mexican Auto Industry Accelerates in Early 2015

02/09/15 Wall Street Journal

iStock_000008876270MediumMexico’s auto industry, which powered a large part of the country’s manufacturing gains last year, got off to a strong start in 2015 by producing 6.8% more cars and light trucks in January than in the same month a year ago, the auto industry association AMIA said Monday.

The increase in output to 266,424 units was supported by a 15% rise in exports to 204,907 units, and a 21% jump in domestic new car sales to 103,697 units.

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Audi Said to Plan Cost-Growth Reduction of $2.5 Billion

10/08/14 Bloomberg

Audi-Q5Audi has a 22 billion-euro investment budget for the next five years, with 70 percent of the spending going toward new products and technology. Most of the rest is allocated to expanding manufacturing capacity, including new plants in Brazil and Mexico.

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GM Moving Cadillac SRX Production to U.S. From Mexico

08/27/14 The Wall Street Journal

autosGeneral Motors Co. on Wednesday said it would invest as much as $185 million to build small engines at its Spring Hill, Tenn., factory and move production of its Cadillac SRX crossover vehicle to the facility from Mexico, capping a multiyear shift by the auto maker to bring more work back into its unionized U.S. factories.

Production of the about $40,000 SRX, now assembled at the Detroit auto maker’s Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, factory, will move to the former Saturn division facility in late 2015 with the launch of the second generation SRX. The car should arrive in showrooms in early 2016.

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Kia Will Spend More Than $1 Billion on Mexico Auto Plant

08/27/14 Bloomberg

manufacutiringKia Motors Corp. (000270) plans to build its first assembly plant in Mexico as the South Korean automaker follows European and Asian rivals in adding regional production.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said today the company will invest more than $1 billion in the factory and attract another $1.5 billion from Kia suppliers in Mexico. The plant will produce 300,000 vehicles a year and be completed in the first half of 2016, Kia Vice Chairman Lee Hyoung-Keun said at an event with Pena Nieto in Mexico City.

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Manufacturers Love U.S., Mexico

08/19/14 Forbes

manufacutiringWe’ve been hearing this for the past three years: multinationals are moving to the U.S. to manufacture goods of all kinds. China’s days as the globe’s low cost producer are over. Hurrah for labor.

Not so fast.

One reason why manufacturing is returning to the U.S. is stagnant wages. Other reasons are because of logistics, location to other markets the manufacturer is targeting, and high productivity due to automation.

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