TREND: Rebound and recovery in total merchandise trade remained steady across the Top 10 U.S.-Mexico Border Ports of Entry, with each of these top ports exhibiting increases in the January to May 2021 period compared to the same period last year. Moreover, seven of the top ten ports increased in this period when compared to the same period in 2019; Santa Teresa Port of Entry (PoE), Nogales PoE, and Del Rio PoE were the only ones to remain down. However on a month-over-month basis, eight of the top ten ports decreased in May, with Santa Teresa PoE leading the decline.
•During the January to May 2021 period, each of the Top 10 U.S.-Mexico Ports of entry increased in total trade compared to the same period last year. The top four ports led the gains with Laredo PoE, El Paso PoE, Hidalgo PoE, and Otay Mesa PoE increasing by roughly US $24.8 billion (33.4%), US $8.8 billion (33.2%), US $4.9 billion (37.8%), and US $4.9 billion (30.1%), respectively.
•On a year-over-year basis, the top ten ports, as a whole, increased during the January to May 2021 period by roughly US $53.3 billion (30.7%).
•Seven of the top ten ports of entry also increased during the January to May 2021 period when compared to the same months in 2019. El Paso PoE led the increases with a gain of about US $2.7 billion (8.2%), followed by Hidalgo PoE with a gain of roughly US $2.5 billion (15.9%), and Laredo PoE with a gain of about US $2.3 billion (2.4%). The three ports to decrease compared to 2019 were Santa Teresa PoE (US -$2.0 billion or -15.5%), Nogales PoE (US -$982 million or -8.2%), and Del Rio PoE (US -$313 million or -14.1%).
•In total, the top ten ports increased by about US $7.5 billion (3.4%) compared to the first five months of 2019.
•Nevertheless, eight of the top ten ports decreased in May on a month-over-month basis. Santa Teresa PoE, Laredo PoE, and El Paso PoE decreased the most, falling by roughly US $329 million (-14.0%), US $223 million (-1.1%), and US $187 million (-2.6%), respectively. Eagle Pass (US $63 million) and Calexico-East (US $42 million) were the only ports to increase compared to April.
•The top ten ports increased in May on a year-over-year basis, with the top six ports each increasing by over a billion dollars. Laredo PoE increased by approximately US $11.2 billion (125.2%), El Paso PoE increased by about US $3.6 billion (99.1%), and Eagle Pass PoE increased by about US $2.0 billion (214.3%).
TAKEAWAY: Total merchandise trade experienced strong gains compared to last year at all of the top ports during the January to May 2021 period. Furthermore, seven of the top ports also increased during this period compared to first five months of 2019. However, eight of the top ports decreased on a monthly basis in May, following the decreases on a monthly basis at nine of the ports in April. So, despite the continuing yearly increases being encouraging signs of recovery and growth, monitoring the month-over-month trends will continue to be important in the coming months.
* Since 2014, the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at The University of Texas at El Paso has provided economic analysis of the Paso del Norte Region that includes the binational communities of El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The mission of the Hunt Institute is to produce high-quality market analysis tools that can strengthen regional and binational cross-border economic and social development. Twitter: @HuntPasoDeNorte