Despite unfavorable external factors including a weaker Japanese yen, a modest recovery in the world economy pushed the nation’s exports up for the second consecutive month. As a result, the nation posted a $2.58 billion trade surplus, remaining in the black for the 15th month in a row.
Exports gained 0.4 percent year on year to $46.29 billion. Thanks to strong demand for Long Term Evolution (LTE)-capable smartphones and a low base effect from the previous year, exports of wireless communications devices saw double-digit growth. Petrochemicals also saw double-digit growth owing to greater production capacity and a low base effect.
Robust sales of smart devices such as tablet PCs boosted outbound shipments of semiconductors.
Exports of ships and steel, on the other hand, continued on a downward trend. Although exports to the ASEAN region, China and the European Union posted positive growth, Japan, the Middle East and Latin America saw declines.
Meanwhile imports declined 0.5 percent from a year earlier to $43.72 billion. Although inbound shipments of petroleum products and gas saw gains, imports of raw materials on the whole shrank 10.1 percent due to weaker demand for crude oil and coal. While inbound shipments of capital goods posted a slight decline, imports of consumer goods showed positive growth. Imports from the United States and the ASEAN region fell.
On a month-over-month basis, exports dropped by 2.4 percent and imports declined by 0.97 percent.