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Korea: Exports contract at fastest pace in six years; trade surplus holds

September 13, 2015

In August, exports totaled USD 39.2 billion, according to the Korea Customs Services. The reading represented a sizable 14.9% year-on-year decrease, marking the eighth consecutive decline and the largest drop in six years (July: -5.1% year-on-year).

Meanwhile, imports totaled USD 35.0 billion in August, which was below the 38.8 billion recorded in July. The reading marked a substantial 18.3% annual decline and was the eighth straight double-digit contraction.

Given that imports fell relatively more than exports, the trade balance grew compared to the same month last year. The trade surplus came in at USD 4.3 billion in August, which was greater than the USD 3.3 billion surplus registered in the same month last year. Nevertheless, the August trade surplus was smaller than the USD 6.9 billion surplus registered in July. In the 12 months up to August, the trade surplus reached USD 79.0 billion (July: USD 78.0 billion surplus), which represented the highest reading on record.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to contract 1.7% in 2015 and to expand 3.3% in 2016.


Author:, Economist

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Korea Trade Chart


Korea Trade12m August 2015

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual average variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports.
Source: Korea Customs Services (KCS) and FocusEconomics calculations.


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