Korea Trade August 2016


Korea: Korean exports expand for first time in 20 months in August

September 1, 2016

Korea’s Customs Services reported that exports totaled USD 40.1 billion in August, which represented a stronger-than-expected 2.6% expansion over the USD 39.1 billion recorded in the same month last year and marks the first increase after a streak of 19 contractions. August’s print beat the 1.2% rise the median-market forecast had predicted and revives hopes for a gradual recovery in the country’s external sector.

Imports increased 0.1% year-on-year to USD 34.8 billion in August and contrasted expectations of a 1.4% contraction. Although timid, August’s increase was the first in nearly two years. Imports have consistently contracted since October 2014.

Korea’s trade surplus totaled USD 5.3 billion in August, which came in below the previous month’s USD 7.6 billion. The surplus in August prompted the 12-month trade surplus to increase to USD 94.5 billion, the highest in the country’s history.

Following an 8.0% contraction in 2015, exports are expected to contract again this year, although at a softer pace. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to decrease 3.6% in 2016. For 2017, analysts expect exports to rebound and expand 3.0% in 2017.

Author:, Senior Economist

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Korea Trade Chart

Korea Trade12m August 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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