MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico reported a trade deficit for August after a surprise drop in car exports, bolstering expectations for slower economic growth in the second half of the year.
Total exports fell 0.33 percent in the month, the national statistics agency said on Wednesday, with a 15 percent drop in car exports to their lowest since January, overwhelming an increase in oil exports.
Imports rose 1.24 percent in seasonally adjusted terms, helping to push the trade balance into deficit to the tune of $175 million. That compared with a downwardly adjusted surplus of $304 million in July.
The drop in exports, after a recovery in July, is a worrying sign for third-quarter growth in Mexico, Latin America's second-biggest economy, after the pace of expansion eased in the second quarter on waning consumer demand in the United States.
Car exports have been a mainstay of Mexico's recent export gains, with Mexico now the fourth-biggest exporter of cars globally and the country attracting new investment from companies, including Audi, Mazda, and Nissan.
Mexico's non-automotive factory-made exports rose 0.07 percent last month from July.
In non-seasonally adjusted terms, Mexico posted a trade deficit of $979 million.
(Reporting by Krista Hughes)