[Photo by Yonhap]
Both exports and imports by South Korea fell in double digits in the first 10 day of September, with outbound shipments shrinking in steeper pace to suggest deficit streak in the trade balance for the sixth month for the first time in 25 years and worsening conditions for the trade-reliant economy.
According to data released by Korea Customs Service on Tuesday, the country’s trade balance incurred a deficit of $2.4 billion in the first 10 days of September, widening from $1.48 billion in the same period a year ago.
Korea logged a deficit of $2.48 billion in April, $1.6 billion in May, $2.49 billion in June, $4.8 in July, and $9.47 billion in August, registering a deficit streak for five straight months for the first time in 14 years to a record cumulative red figure. The streak could go on for a sixth month which would be the first time in 25 years.
As of Sept. 10, cumulative trade deficit this year has reached $27.55 billion.
Korea managed to report a trade surplus of $895 million with China in the first 10 days of September as imports fell sharper than exports with the country’s biggest trade partner.
Korea had logged a deficit for four months in a row until August, the first since the bilateral relations normalized in 1992.
The country’s exports from September 1 to 10 totaled $16.2 billion, down 16.6 percent from the same period a year ago. Average daily export increased 9 percent on year based on 6.5 working days, two days shorter than a year earlier due to Chuseok holiday.
Outbound shipments of mainstay chips increased 7.9 percent in the first 10 days of September after falling in August for the first time in 26 months. Exports of petrochemical products jumped 11.7 percent. Exports of automobiles plunged 17.9 percent, steel products 36.4 percent, wireless communications devices 23.8 percent, and vehicle components 15.8 percent.
Exports to China fell 20.9 percent, the United States 11.6 percent, European Union 23.2 percent, and Vietnam 11.4 percent. Korea’s shipments to China declined for three straight months until August. Exports to Malaysia rose 19.6 percent, data showed.
The country’s imports fell 10.9 percent on year to $18.7 billion in the cited period. Average daily import rose 16.6 percent.
Imports have been exceeding exports in growth nonstop from June last year.
Imports of crude oil rose 15.7 percent from September 1 to 10, gas 92.3 percent, and automobiles 5.8 percent. Inbound shipments of chips, on the other hand, fell 18.1 percent, petrochemical products 33.5 percent, coal 1.2 percent, machinery 23.4 percent, and chip manufacturing equipment 29.6 percent.
Imports of three energy sources reached $6.1 billion – $3.3 billion in crude oil, $2.16 billion in gas, and $6.68 million in coal – in the first 10 days of September, up 31.7 percent from the same period a year ago.
Imports from Saudi Arabia rose 48.8 percent, Vietnam 0.9 percent, and Malaysia 29.6 percent, while those from China fell 24.2 percent, the U.S. 27.8 percent, EU 26.7 percent, and Japan 24.1 percent.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]