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Korea: Imports decline more than exports; trade surplus grows

June 18, 2015

In May, exports totaled USD 42.4 billion, according to the Korea Customs Services. The reading represented a 10.9% year-on-year decrease. The result marked the fifth consecutive decline and the largest loss since August 2009, when export growth tumbled during the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, imports totaled USD 36.1 billion in May, which was below the 37.7 billion recorded in April. Moreover, May’s reading marked a substantial 15.3% annual decline, the fifth 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 6.3 billion in May, which was greater than the USD 5.0 billion surplus registered in the same month last year. However, the May trade surplus was lower than the USD 8.4 billion surplus registered in April. In the 12 months up to May, the trade surplus reached USD 69.1 billion (April: USD 67.8 billion surplus), which represented the highest reading on record.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to expand 5.6% in 2015 and to accelerate to 10.8% in 2016.


Author:, Economist

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Korea Trade Chart


Korea Trade12m May 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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