Korea: Plunging imports offsets declining exports, keeps trade balance in surplus
March 19, 2015
In February, exports totaled USD 41.5 billion, according to the Korea Customs Services. The reading marked a three-year low and represented a 3.3% year-on-year decrease, which exceeded the 0.9% decline recorded in January (previously reported: -0.7% year-on-year).
Meanwhile, imports totaled USD 33.8 billion in February, which was below the USD 39.8 billion recorded in January and marked the lowest reading in five years. February’s reading marked a staggering 19.7% annual decline, the largest loss in more than five years and even greater than the 11.0% contraction tallied in January.
Given that imports fell relatively more than exports, the trade balance improved compared to the same month last year. The trade surplus came in at USD 7.7 billion in February, which was well above the USD 0.9 billion surplus registered in the same month of last year. The February trade surplus was also higher than the USD 5.4 billion surplus registered in January. In the 12 months up to February, the trade surplus reached USD 58.6 billion (January: USD 51.7 billion), which represented the highest reading on record.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist