Mexican auto parts exports rose 20.9 percent in May compared with the same month last year, driven by higher demand from the United States and because the depreciation of the peso currency made Mexican products cheaper, an industry group said. Mexico, the biggest auto parts maker in Latin America, sent $428.2 million worth of auto parts abroad in May, compared with $354.3 million in May 2001, according to the National Auto Parts Industry (INA) association. Mexico's auto parts industry contracted 13 percent last year, as an economic recession in the United States affected car production. Omar Zuniga, director of analysis for INA, which has 150 member companies who produce 80 percent of auto parts in Mexico, said the industry began to pick up in April due to stronger than expected car and light-truck sales in the United States. The Mexican peso depreciated more than 7 percent between April 1 and May 31, from 9.01 per dollar to 9.65 per dollar. That made Mexican exports more competitive because they cost less in dollar terms. In the first five months of 2002, auto parts exports came to $1.803 billion, up 4.7 percent compared with the January-May period last year, INA said. The figures include only direct exports, not parts installed in cars assembled in Mexico for export, which are considered indirect exports.