South Korea’s trade surplus narrowed to USD 4.17 billion in June 2019 from USD 6.08 billion in the same month a year earlier, a preliminary data showed, as exports fell more than imports.
Year on-year exports tumbled by 13.5 pct year-on-year to USD 44.18 billion in June 2019, worse than market consensus of a 12 pct drop and faster than a 9.4 pct fall in May. It marked the seventh straight month of contraction in overseas sales, amid weakening global demand and the prolonged Sino-US trade row. Sales of semiconductors tumbled 25.5 pct, due to a fall in prices of memory chips, coupled with the weaker demand for smartphone around the world. In addition, exports of petrochemicals shrank 24.5 percent, mailny due to the decreasing of oil prices. On the other hand, sales of ships surged 46.4 percent. Also, exports of cars rose 8.1 percent, following the stronger demand for SUVs. Meantime, exports bio-health and rechargeable batteries also increased.
Exports to China, the largest trading partner for Asia's fourth-largest economy, slumped 24.1 percent, the steepest yearly fall since May 2009, when exports dropped by 25.6 percent Also, sales to the EU declined 3.1 percent, due to the sluggish economy of Germany. In addition, outbound shipments to the US decreased 2.5 percent, led by lower sales of chips and mobile devices
For the second half of 2019, the government expects exports to recover, supported by better prices of chips and the effects of China's economic stimulus measures.
Imports dropped by 11.1 percent year-on-year to USD 40.01 billion in June 2019, accelerating from a marginally revised 1.8 percent fall in the previous month and compared with market consensus of a 10.1 percent decline.
For the first half of the year, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 19.5 billion from USD 37.2 billion in the corresponding period 2018. Exports fell 8.4 percent on year to USD 271.5 billion while imports declined at a softer 5.1 percent to USD 252 billion.
7/1/2019 2:21:54 AM