Korea Trade May 2016


Korea: Exports fall less in May, but extend contraction for the 17th consecutive month

June 2, 2016

In May, exports totaled USD 39.8 billion, according to the Korea Customs Services. The reading represented a 6.0% year-on-year decrease—marking the 17th consecutive monthly contraction—but was less sharp than April’s 11.2% contraction. Nonetheless, the print was worse than the 1.0% contraction the markets had expected.

Meanwhile, imports totaled USD 32.7 billion in May, which represented a 9.3% contraction over the USD 36.0 billion registered in the same month last year. Imports have been contracting uninterruptedly since October 2014.

Korea’s trade surplus totaled USD 7.1 billion in May, which came in below the USD 8.8 billion registered in the previous month. The mild surplus in May prompted the 12-month trailing rolling trade surplus to widen to USD 92.0 billion, which is the highest surplus in the country’s history.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to grow 0.7% in 2016 and to expand 2.4% in 2017.

Author:, Senior Economist

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Korea Trade Chart

Korea Trade12m May 2016

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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