Korea’s May 1-20 exports fall 16%, trade deficit nearing $30 this year

2023.05.22 11:49:02 | 2023.05.22 12:19:53

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

Korea’s exports fell in the first 20 days of May, continuing a negative trend now for more than seven consecutive months. The monthly trade deficit also continued for more than 14 months, nearing $30 billion for the year.

According to data from the Korea Customs Service on Monday, exports on a customs-cleared basis topped $32.43 billion in the first 20 days of the month, down 16.1 percent during the same period a year before. Average daily exports, with business days taken into account, fell by 13.2 percent. The number of business days during the period was 14.5, half a day shorter than May 2022.

Monthly exports fell for seven months in a row, from October 2022 to April 2023. This is the first time for exports to be down for seven or more months in a row since December 2018 to January 2020.

By category, exports of semiconductors dropped 35.5 percent from a year ago. The key export item has seen a decline in its exports for nine consecutive months through to April.

Other key export items also saw overall smaller exports in value compare to a year before, with petroleum products losing 33 percent, wireless communication devices falling 0.8 percent, precision equipment down 20.9 percent, computer peripherals negative 47.3 percent and vessels falling 58.3.

On the other hand, exports of passenger vehicles surged 54.7 percent.

By country, exports to China, the largest trading partner, fell 23.4 percent, continuing the declining trend for 11 months in a row.

Exports to other major trade partners shrank. Shipment to the U.S. dropped 2 percent, those to the European Union fell 11, those to Vietnam slipped 15.7 percent and those to Japan was down 13.9 percent.

Imports also fell by 15.3 percent to $36.75 billion.

Imports of the top three energy sources all saw a decline, with crude oil falling 21.2 percent, gas down 14.3 percent and coal down 41.1 percent. Imports of semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment fell by 15.4 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively, and imports of petroleum products also dropped by 21.9.

By country, imports from China, the U.S. and Australia fell by 15.7 percent, 17.7 percent and 33.4 percent, respectively, while imports from the EU and Malaysia rose 5.4 percent and 34.5 percent.

The trade deficit was $4.34 billion. The deficit was slightly narrower than the $4.19 billion in deficit seen during the same period last month, but the balance is likely to remain a deficit for the whole month. The monthly deficit in April was $2.65 billion.

The trade balance now has seen a deficit for 14 consecutive months since March last year through to April. This is the first time for there to be trade deficits for more than 14 months in a row since January 1995 to May 1997.

The cumulative trade deficit this year, up to the first 20 days of May, was $29.55 billion, which is 62 percent of last year‘s record trade deficit of $47.8 billion.

The trade deficit with China for the first 20 days this month was $1.20 billion, continuing a trend for seven months since October.

By Pulse

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