Korea¡¯s worst-ever trade deficit nears $30 bn by Sept

Hye-seung Seo 입력 2022. 10. 1. 18:48
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[Photo by Yonhap]
South Korean exports added less than 3 percent, while imports kept up a double-digit gain in September against a year-ago period to cause a six-month trade deficit streak for the first time in 25 years and an unprecedented annual red of near $30 billion.

According to trade data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on Saturday, exports grew 2.8 percent on year to $57.46 billion last month – a record high for September – but they were paled by a 18.6 percent jump in imports to $61.23 billion.

A small sign of relief was the deficit of $3.77 billion last month more than halving from $9.49 billion in August, partly thanks to a shift to a surplus in trade with China for the first time in five months.

The Asian trade power has been incurring an uninterrupted deficit since April - the longest since a deficit streak from January 1995 to May 1997, a year that led up to an international bailout for the country due to default crisis from shortage of foreign currency revenue.

Trade balance this year was in a deficit of $4.92 billion in January, and then $2.48 billion in April, $1.6 billion in May, $2.5 billion in June, $5.08 billion in July, and $9.49 billion in August. The September addition puts the cumulative red at $29.8 billion, topping former deficit record of $20.6 billion in 1996.

Exports stayed relatively robust with petrochemicals, automobile, and battery shipments offsetting softening demand in IT components and devices. Chip exports fell 5.7 percent, extending the first contraction in August in 26 months.

Due largely to the easing in mainstay chip exports, growth rate sharply slowed to a single digit since June.

Outbound shipments of petrochemical products jumped 52.7 percent, automobiles 34.7 percent, and batteries 30.4 percent. Steel fell 21.1 percent as largest steelmaker POSCO¡¯s furnaces were turned off for the first time in history from a gigantic typhoon.

Exports to China dropped 6.5 percent due to economic slowdown and lockdowns and to European Union plagued by energy woes 0.7 percent. Shipments to other key markets grew – up 16 percent to the United States, 8.5 percent to India, 7.6 percent to ASEAN region, and 2.5 percent to Japan.

Imports have been exceeding the gains in export since June last year and in a value of over $60 billion for the seventh straight month due to unfazed rises in energy fuel costs.

Imports of fuel sources – crude, gas, and, coal – jumped 81.2 percent on year to $17.96 billion as the resource-deficient country upped stock ahead of a colder season.

The compositions to the trade data have all been making records.

Exports until September reached $524.9 billion, imports $553.8 billion, and deficit at $28.9 billion.

[¨Ï Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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