South Korea Trade Surplus Narrows To 4-Month Low In May


South Korea's trade surplus fell to USD 5.99 billion in May of 2017 from USD 6.71 billion a year earlier. It was the smallest trade surplus since January, as exports rose less than imports, preliminary data showed.

Year-on-year, sales  increased by 13.4 percent from a year earlier to USD 45.04 billion in April, following a marginally revised 24.1 percent rise in the prior month while market expected a 13.6 percent gain. It was the seventh straight month of increase, as sales went up for: semi-conductors (63.3 percent), petroleum products (29.8 percent) and flat screens (13.0 percent). In contrast, exports declined for wireless devices (-37.0 percent), autoparts (-12.4 percent) and home appliances (-21.0 percent).

Exports to China rose 7.5 percent, slower than a 10.2 percent in a month earlier. Meantime, outbound shipments to the EU countries jumped 21.9 percent (from 64.9 percent in April) and those to Japan also increased by 8.7 percent (from 23.8 percent). In contrast, sales to the US fell by 1.9 percent, following a 3.9 percent rise in the prior month.

Imports jumped 18.2 percent to USD 39.05 billion, compared to an upwardly revised 17.3 percent gain and above forecast of a 14.6 percent gain.

In April 2017,  trade surplus was downwardly revised to USD 12.98 billion but still being the highest on record.

For 2017, exports are expected to increase 2.9 percent, supported by improving global demand, while imports are projected to grow at a faster 7.2 percent. 

The trade balance has been in consistent surpluses since February 2012.

Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
6/1/2017 3:37:24 AM