S. Korea swings to trade surplus in June; decline in exports eases

Seoul, July 1 (BNA): South Korea reported a trade surplus in June for the first time in 16 months, but its outbound shipments fell for the ninth consecutive month due to weak demand for semiconductors, the industry ministry said Saturday.

Outbound shipments fell 6% year-on-year to $54.24 billion last month, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The drop came as semiconductors, the country’s main export item, fell 28 percent due to lower demand and lower chip prices.

But June saw the smallest decline in exports year-on-year so far this year, which could indicate that the country’s exports may rebound in the second half of this year, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Outbound shipments to the country fell 15.2 percent in May after a 14.4 percent drop in the previous month.

Exports have seen an annual decline since October last year amid strong monetary tightening by major economies to curb soaring inflation and an economic slowdown. It is also the first time since 2020 that exports have fallen for nine months in a row.

Imports fell 11.7% year-on-year to $53.11 billion in June, the ministry said, as energy imports fell 27.3% year-on-year. South Korea relies on imports for most of its energy needs.

Accordingly, the country posted a trade surplus of $1.13 billion last month, ending a 15-month deficit.


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