South Korea Trade Surplus Widens Slightly in February
South Korea’s trade surplus widened to USD 3.10 billion in February 2019 from USD 2.80 billion in the same month a year earlier, a preliminary data showed. Year-on-year, exports dropped by 11.1 percent to USD 39.56 billion, while imports declined at a faster 12.6 percent to USD 36.47 billion.
Year-on-year, exports declined by 11.1 percent to USD 39.56 billion in February, missing market expectations of a 10.8 percent fall and following a 5.8 percent drop in the previous month. It marked the third straight month of decrease in outbound shipments and the steepest since April 2016, amid ongoing Sino-US trade conflict and lower oil prices. Sales of memory chips tumbled 24.8 pct, as global demand for smartphone slowed and major tech firms postponed purchases. Also, exports dropped for petrochemicals (-14.8 pct), amid a decline in crude oil prices. Meantime, sales of ships slumped 46.5 percent. The sharp decline of orders in 2016 continued to exert a negative impact, as takes around two to three years build exports ships. Exports to China, South Korea's top trading partner, contracted 17.4 pct while those to EU dropped 8.5 percent. In contrast, outbound shipments to the US grew for fifth straight month.
Imports decreased by 12.6 percent to USD 36.47 billion, worse than market consensus of a 11.6 percent fall and after a 1.7 percent drop in January.
Considering the first two months of 2019, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 4.39 billion from USD 6.28 billion in the corresponding period the prior year.
3/1/2019 3:11:43 AM