South Korea Trade Surplus Narrows 14.3% YoY in December


South Korea’s trade surplus fell to USD 5.8 billion in December of 2017 from USD 6.8 billion in the same month of the preceding year, as exports rose less than imports, preliminary data showed. Considering full 2017, the trade surplus came in at USD 95.8 billion, larger than a USD 89.2 billion surplus in the previous year.

In December, exports increased by 8.9 percent year-on-year to USD 49.1 billion, slower than a marginally revised 9.5 percent growth in a month earlier and below market estimates of a 10.3 percent increase. Still, it was the 14th straight month of rise in outbound shipments, the longest run of gains since 2011, with sales of memory chips and petrochemical products recording double-digit growth.

Imports went up 13 percent to USD 43.3 billion, after an upwardly revised 12.7 percent rise in the prior month and above expectations of a 12.1 percent growth.

In November 2017, the trade surplus was downwardly revised to USD 7.6 billion.

Considering 2017 as a whole, the trade surplus came in at USD 95.8 billion, larger than a USD 89.2 billion surplus in the previous year. Exports in 2017 grew by 15.8 percent compared to the same period the prior year to reach an all-time high of USD 573.9 billion. Sales of memory chips soared 57.4 percent, followed by those of petrochemical products (31.7 percent). Exports to China expanded by 14.2 percent, while those to the US went up by 3.2 percent. Also, sales to the EU countries increased by 16 percent. Imports in the year rose 17.7 percent to  USD 478.1 billion, due to an increase in equipment needed to produce memory chips and display products. 

For 2018, exports are projected to rise by 4 percent amid strengthening local currency and potential geopolitical risks.


South Korea Trade Surplus Narrows 14.3% YoY in December


Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
1/1/2018 7:06:58 AM