South Korea Trade Surplus Widens 39.6% YoY in August


South Korea's trade surplus increased to USD 7.01 billion in August of 2017 from USD 5.02 billion in the same month a year earlier, mainly supported by double-digit growth of exports, preliminary data showed.

Year-on-year, sales jumped 17.4 percent to USD 47.11 billion, following a 19.5 percent rise in the prior month and beating consensus of a 14.3 percent growth. It was the eighth straight month of double-digit growth in outbound shipments, the longest stretch of increase at such pace since 2011. Exports of semiconductors posted record sales of USD 8.76 billion and those of flat screens hit record high of USD 860 million. 

Exports to China went up 15.6 percent from a year earlier, the longest stretch of sales to South Korea's bigger neighbour since 2014. In addition, sales to the EU soared by 43.2 percent and those to the US jumped by 23.3 percent. Meantime, exports to Japan grew by 5.5 percent, led by a rise in shipments of machinery and steel products in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Imports increased by 14.2 percent to USD 40.10 billion, compared to an upwardly revised 15.5 percent gain in a month earlier while market estimated a 11.4 percent increase.

In July 2017, trade surplus was downwardly revised to 10.3 USD billion.

For 2017, exports are expected to increase 2.9 percent, supported by improving global demand, while imports are projected to grow by 7.2 percent. The trade balance has been in consistent surpluses since February 2012.

Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
9/1/2017 4:03:54 AM