Year-on-year, exports in October dropped by 15.8 percent to US43.47 billion, the tenth straight monthly decline and the sharpest fall since August 2009, following a downwardly revised 8.4 percent drop in September. Sales declined for: petroleum products (- 41.4 percent year-on-year), petrochemical (-21.40 percent), automobiles (-1.3 percent, steel (-29.6 percent) and ships (-63.7 percent). In contrast, sales rose for: mobile communication devices, including smartphones (+42.1 percent), solid-state drives (+25.0 percent), organic light-emitting diodes (+29.1 percent) and cosmetics (+30.7 percent).
Outbond shipments to China, the largest market for South Korean products, fell by 8.0 percent from a year earlier, the fourth month in a row of falling. Sales also declined to the US (-11.4 percent), Japan (-25.6 percent), the ASEAN countries (-12.6 percent) and the EU countries (-12.5 percent).
Imports declined by 16.6 percent to USD36.78 billion, following a 21.3 percent drop in September. While purchases plunged for raw materials (-29 percent), inbound shipments rose for consumer goods (+13.8 percent) and capital goods (20.9 percent).
In September 2015, South Korea posted a USD8.90 billion trade surplus. The country posted a record high of USD9.89 billion trade surplus in June this year.
The trade balance has been in consistent surpluses since February 2012.