Korea Trade


Korea: Steep drop in imports offsets declining exports, keeps trade balance in surplus

February 16, 2015

In January, exports totaled USD 45.2 billion, according to the Korea Customs Services. The reading marked a 0.7% year-on-year decrease, which contrasted the 3.1% increase recorded in December (previously reported: +3.6% year-on-year).

Meanwhile, imports totaled USD 39.8 billion in January, which was below the USD 43.9 billion recorded in December and marked the lowest reading in almost five years. January’s reading marked a staggering 11.0% annual decline, the largest loss in more than five years and much greater than the 1.0% contraction tallied in December.

The trade balance improved compared to the same month last year. The trade surplus came in at USD 5.4 billion in January, which was notably up from the USD 0.8 billion surplus registered in the same month of last year. However, the January trade surplus was somewhat lower than the USD 5.6 billion surplus registered in December. In the 12 months up to January, the trade surplus reached USD 51.7 billion (December: USD 47.2 billion), 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 January 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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