Korea Trade September 2016


Korea: Korean exports swing back into contraction in September

October 3, 2016

Korea’s Customs Services reported that exports totaled USD 40.9 billion in September, which represented a 5.9% contraction over the USD 43.4 billion recorded in the same month last year. The markets had expected the decline, which followed the first increase in exports in 20 months in August. September’s print blew hopes for a gradual recovery in the country’s external sector.

Imports decreased 2.3% year-on-year to USD 33.7 billion in September, contrasting a 0.7% rise in August. Imports have consistently contracted since October 2014, with the exception of August’s timid increase.

Korea’s trade surplus totaled USD 7.1 billion in September, which was larger than the previous month’s USD 5.1 billion surplus. The figure in September prompted the 12-month trade surplus to total USD 91.9 billion, which marked the first moderation since February.

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 September 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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