South Korea’s trade surplus decreased sharply to USD 5.14 billion in November of 2018 from USD 7.69 billion in the same month of the preceding year, preliminary data showed. It was the smallest trade surplus since February, as imports rose more than exports. Year-on-year, imports increased 11.4 percent to USD 46.78 billion, after an upwardly revised 28.1 percent jump in a month earlier while markets had expected a 12 percent rise. Exports rose at a softer 4.5 percent to USD 51.92 billion, following a 22.7 percent surge in October and below consensus of a 6.6 percent gain. Considering the first eleven months of 2018, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 66.31 billion from USD 89.71 billion in the corresponding period the prior year. Balance of Trade in South Korea averaged 1050.28 USD Million from 1966 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 13419.36 USD Million in September of 2017 and a record low of -4043.46 USD Million in January of 2008.

Balance of Trade in South Korea is expected to be 3200.00 USD Million by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Balance of Trade in South Korea to stand at 6450.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the South Korea Balance of Trade is projected to trend around 5800.00 USD Million in 2020, according to our econometric models.

South Korea Balance of Trade
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2018-09-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $6.9B $6.9B $ 3.3B
2018-10-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $9.7B $6.85B $ 5.4B
2018-11-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $6.55B $9.57B $ 3.2B
2018-12-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $5.14B $6.47B $ 3.1B
2019-01-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $5.14B $ 3.2B
2019-02-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade
2019-03-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade



South Korea Trade Surplus Narrows 33.2% YoY in November



South Korea’s trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 5.14 billion in November of 2018 from USD 7.69 billion in the same month of the preceding year, preliminary data showed. It was the smallest trade surplus since February, as imports rose more than exports.

Year-on-year, imports increased 11.4 percent to USD 46.78 billion, after an upwardly revised 28.1 percent jump in a month earlier while markets had expected a 12 percent rise.

Exports rose at a softer 4.5 percent to USD 51.92 billion, following a 22.7 percent surge in October and below consensus of a 6.6 percent gain. It marked the second straight month of increase in outbound shipments, amid ongoing trade dispute between China and the US. Exports of semiconductors jumped 11.6, led by solid sales of high-value chips and storage devices. Also, sales of petrochemical products advanced 23.5 percent, supported by solid demand. In contrast, sales of vehicles dropped 2 percent, amid weak demand in the Middle East and tougher environmental regulations in Europe. Exports of displays fell 10 percent, due to a drop in prices of  liquid crystal displays and weakening demand for flat-screen TVs.

Among major trading partners, sales to the US went up 7.9 percent, mainly driven by vehicles, general machinery and semiconductors. In addition, sales to the ASEAN countries grew 13 percent, led by strong demand for semiconductor, petroleum goods and displays. In contrast, exports to China, South Korea's top trading partner, shrank 2.5 percent and reaching the first drop in over two years, amid sluggish sales of wireless communication equipment and displays, coupled with a high base effect.

Considering the first eleven months of 2018, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 66.31 billion from USD 89.71 billion in the corresponding period the prior year.


Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) l Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com
12/1/2018 3:05:59 AM



South Korea Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 5139.00 6466.15 13419.36 -4043.46 USD Million [+]
Current Account 9190.00 8439.80 12287.50 -3756.80 USD Million [+]
Current Account to GDP 5.60 7.00 10.70 -10.50 percent [+]
Imports 46784.00 48477.78 48477.78 38.61 USD Million [+]
Exports 51923.00 54943.93 55115.24 14.75 USD Million [+]
External Debt 449529.10 440543.60 452718.00 80766.40 USD Million [+]
Terms of Trade 97.10 98.00 237.00 86.10 Index Points [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 3448981.00 10819799.00 10819799.00 0.00 USD Thousand [+]
Capital Flows 10670.50 9802.30 12440.20 -3385.80 USD Million [+]
Tourism Revenues 1356500.00 1381400.00 1765400.00 326500.00 USD Million [+]
Tourist Arrivals 1527832.00 1278604.00 1703495.00 213006.00 [+]
Gold Reserves 104.40 104.40 104.44 13.00 Tonnes [+]
Terrorism Index 0.61 0.23 2.62 0.00 [+]
Weapons Sales 587.00 585.00 587.00 7.00 USD Million [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



South Korea Balance of Trade

Since 2009 South Korea has been recording trade surpluses due to exports growth. The country exports mainly machinery and transport equipment, oil, iron, steel and plastics while it imports oil, electrical machinery, natural gas and food. Main trading partners are: China (26 percent of total exports and 21 percent of total imports) and the United States (13 percent of exports and 10 percent of imports). Others include: Japan, ASEAN countries and Germany. This page provides the latest reported value for - South Korea Balance of Trade - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. South Korea Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on December of 2018.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
5139.00 6466.15 13419.36 -4043.46 1966 - 2018 USD Million Monthly




Country Last Previous
Argentina 277.00 Oct/18
Australia 2316.00 Oct/18
Brazil 4062.09 Nov/18
Canada -1165.20 Oct/18
China 447.40 Nov/18
Euro Area 13141.70 Sep/18
France -4052.00 Oct/18
Germany 18300.00 Oct/18
India -17130.00 Oct/18
Indonesia -1819.90 Oct/18
Italy 1274.37 Sep/18
Japan -449.26 Oct/18
Mexico -2936.00 Oct/18
Netherlands 4850.00 Oct/18
Russia 19697.00 Oct/18
Saudi Arabia 162782.00 Jun/18
Singapore 4520.91 Oct/18
South Africa -5549.90 Oct/18
South Korea 5139.00 Nov/18
Spain -3297100.00 Sep/18
Switzerland 2637.00 Oct/18
Turkey -456.10 Oct/18
United Kingdom -3300.00 Oct/18
United States -55488.00 Oct/18


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