South Korea Trade Surplus Narrows in January


South Korea recorded a $870 million trade surplus in January, which represents a month-over-month decrease of 5.2 percent but a an increase of 3.6 percent from the same month of the previous year.

The nation’s trade surplus reached $870 million. Exports posted the first double-digit growth in 11 months, largely due to an increase in the number of working days and a low base effect from a year earlier. Korea’s major export items enjoyed stronger demand as the global economy showed signs of recovery.

Exports gained 11.8 percent year on year to $46.1 billion, but the average value of total exports per day grew more slowly than the previous month. While exports of wireless communications devices and automobiles showed solid growth, outbound shipments of ships and steel continued their downward trend.
Due to brisk sales of major smartphone models and a weak performance the previous year, exports of wireless communications devices jumped 32.8 percent. The nation also shipped more automobiles abroad thanks to the release of new models and more working days. However , due to weaker demand from major importers including China, Japan and the European Union, exports of steel fell 8.0 percent. Exports of ships also declined because of a prolonged slowdown in the global shipbuilding industry.
 
While exports to the  ASEAN region and China climbed, outbound shipments to the rest of key trading partners declined.
 
Meanwhile, imports gained 3.9 percent from a year earlier to $45.2 billion and the average value of all imports per day rose 4.7 percent to $1.9 billion.
 
Although Korea imported more petroleum products and gas, weaker demand for coal pushed inbound shipments of raw materials down 16.5 percent. Imports of capital goods and consumer goods also declined 10.8 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively . Imports from major key trading partners showed negative growth.

Ministry of Knowledge Economy | Nuno Salva | nuno.salva@tradingeconomics.com
2/8/2013 10:17:57 AM