South Korea's trade surplus plunged to USD 1.72 billion in August 2019 from USD 6.82 billion in the same month a year earlier, a preliminary data showed. This was the smallest trade surplus since January, as exports tumbled 13.6 percent amid deteriorating external conditions, including the US-China trade tensions and disputes with Japan. Meanwhile, imports slumped 4.2 percent. Considering the first eight months of 2019, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 23.16 billion from USD 44.81 billion in the corresponding period the prior year. Balance of Trade in South Korea averaged 1076.91 USD Million from 1966 until 2019, 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 8500.00 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 7100.00 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
2019-06-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade May $2.27B $4.0B $5.07B $5.9B
2019-07-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade Jun $4.17B $2.25B $4.17B $6.4B
2019-08-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade Jul $2.44B $4.0B $7.4B
2019-09-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade Aug $1.72B $2.44B $6.5B
2019-10-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade Sep $1.72B $ 8.5B
2019-11-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade Oct $5.9B
2019-12-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade Nov $4.2B



South Korea Trade Surplus Smallest in 7 Months

South Korea’s trade surplus plunged to USD 1.72 billion in August 2019 from USD 6.82 billion in the same month a year earlier, a preliminary data showed. This was the smallest trade surplus since January, with exports falling much more than imports.

Exports tumbled 13.6 percent year-on-year to USD 44.20 billion in August, in line with market expectations and following a 11 percent fall in the prior month. This marked the ninth straight month of yearly decline in overseas sales, amid deteriorating external conditions, including the US-China trade dispute and Japan’s tighter restrictions on exports to South Korea. Exports of semiconductors, petrochemicals, and petroleum products decreased while those of secondary batteries, agricultural products and fisheries, and cosmetics increased.

Chip exports, which account for about 20 percent of the country's total exports, dropped 30.7 percent, to USD 8.0 billion as prices for DRAM and NAND products continued to decline compared to last year and international companies adjusted their inventories. Outbound shipments of petrochemicals dropped 19.2 percent to USD 3.5 billion, amid falling prices and demand for oil. Exports of petroleum products moved down 14.1 percent to USD 3.7 billion, due to a base effect, lower oil prices, and an increasing number of refineries in Asia.

Meanwhile, exports of secondary batteries grew 3.6 percent to USD 632 million. Batteries for high power products such as power tools and wireless vacuum cleaners were in greater demand. More batteries were sold for second-generation electric cars. Sales of energy storage systems (ESS) for electricity and industry were robust in North America. Outbound shipments of agricultural products and fisheries moved up 5.7 percent to USD 704 million, thanks to rising demand for agricultural products (up 8.2 percent), livestock products (up 11.3 percent), fisheries (up 2.3 percent), and forest products (up 6.6 percent). Those of cosmetics inched up 1.1 percent to USD 519 million on the back of greater sales of deodorants, perfume, face washes, and foundation makeup products.

Among major trade partners, exports to China went down 21.3 percent mostly because of decreased sales of semiconductors, petrochemicals, wireless communications devices, and steel products; and those to the Central and South America inched down 18.3 percent largely due to lower demand for auto parts, general machinery, steel products, and displays. Meanwhile, exports to the CIS gained 8.8 percent on the back of improved sales of general machinery, auto parts, and petrochemicals; and those to ASEAN were up 1.9 percent, amid increased shipments of petroleum products, ships, wireless communications devices, and auto parts.

Meantime, imports slumped 4.2 percent to USD 42.48 billion in August, compared to market consensus of a 4 percent fall and after a 2.7 percent drop in the preceding month.

Considering the first eight months of 2019, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 23.16 billion from USD 44.81 billion in the corresponding period the prior year. 


MOTIE | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
9/2/2019 9:15:06 AM



South Korea Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 1723.00 2403.33 13419.36 -4043.46 USD Million [+]
Current Account 6949.40 6376.60 12409.70 -3845.00 USD Million [+]
Current Account to GDP 4.70 4.90 10.70 -10.50 percent [+]
Imports 42477.00 43690.71 48480.62 38.61 USD Million [+]
Exports 44200.00 46094.04 55115.24 14.75 USD Million [+]
External Debt 462061.90 440584.60 462061.90 80766.40 USD Million [+]
Terms of Trade 91.50 92.20 228.10 82.90 Index Points [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 6704915.00 3172507.00 10820073.00 0.00 USD Thousand [+]
Capital Flows 6550.00 6516.20 12350.90 -3406.90 USD Million [+]
Tourism Revenues 1522800.00 1500300.00 1765400.00 326500.00 USD Million [+]
Tourist Arrivals 1448067.00 1476218.00 1703495.00 213006.00 [+]
Gold Reserves 104.40 104.40 104.44 13.00 Tonnes [+]
Weapons Sales 1083.00 751.00 1083.00 7.00 USD Million [+]
Terrorism Index 0.29 0.61 2.62 0.00 [+]

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 September of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
1723.00 2403.33 13419.36 -4043.46 1966 - 2019 USD Million Monthly




Country Last Previous
Argentina 951.00 Jul/19
Australia 7268.00 Jul/19
Brazil 3280.00 Aug/19
Canada -1124.40 Jul/19
China 348.30 Aug/19
Euro Area 24789.70 Jul/19
France -4607.00 Jul/19
Germany 21449.00 Jul/19
India -13450.00 Aug/19
Indonesia -60.00 Jul/19
Italy 5728.50 Jun/19
Japan -249.59 Jul/19
Mexico -1117.00 Jul/19
Netherlands 4127.00 Jul/19
Russia 11224.00 Jul/19
Saudi Arabia 131636.00 Mar/19
Singapore 2831.10 Jul/19
South Africa -2880.82 Jul/19
South Korea 1723.00 Aug/19
Spain -1532700.00 Jun/19
Switzerland 2671.16 Jul/19
Turkey -3191.93 Jul/19
United Kingdom -219.00 Jul/19
United States -53989.00 Jul/19


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