Year-on-year, exports fell less than expected by 8.2 percent to USD43.0 billion. It is the 15th consecutive month of decline and the smallest drop since November 2015. While outbound shipments of semiconductors fell by 1.5 percent, sales of steel products and mobile communication devices rose by 14.7 percent and 19.9 percent, respectively.
Sales to China, the largest market for South Korean products, fell by 12.2 percent from a year earlier, the ninth straight month of decrease. Exports also declined by 3.8 percent to the US. In contrast, sales rose to the EU countries (+12.7 percent), the third consecutive month of increase.
Imports declined by 13.8 percent to USD33.2 billion, the smallest fall since June 2015
In February 2016, South Korea posted a USD7.39 billion trade surplus.
The trade balance has been in consistent surpluses since February 2012.