South Korea’s trade surplus narrowed to USD 4.56 billion in December of 2018 from USD 5.51 billion in the same month of the preceding year, a preliminary data showed. It was the smallest trade surplus since February, as imports rose while exports fell. Year-on-year, imports increased 0.9 percent to USD 43.91 billion, far lower than a 11.5 percent rise in November and missing market estimates of a 4.2 percent growth. Exports declined unexpectedly by 1.2 percent to USD 48.46 billion, following a 4.1 percent gain in a month earlier and missing estimates of a 3.3 percent rise. For full 2018, the trade surplus was at USD 70.5 billion, reaching the 10th straight year the country sold more goods than it bought. Sales for the year grew 5.5 percent from the same period a year earlier to a record high of USD 605.5 billion, while purchases jumped 11.8 percent to USD 505.0 billion. Balance of Trade in South Korea averaged 1055.34 USD Million from 1966 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 13419.36 USD Million in September of 2017 and a record low of -4043.46 USD Million in January of 2008.

Balance of Trade in South Korea is expected to be 2133.00 USD Million by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Balance of Trade in South Korea to stand at 16100.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the South Korea Balance of Trade is projected to trend around 5800.00 USD Million in 2020, according to our econometric models.

South Korea Balance of Trade
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2018-10-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $9.7B $6.85B $ 5.4B
2018-11-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $6.55B $9.57B $ 3.2B
2018-12-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $5.14B $6.47B $ 3.1B
2019-01-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $4.56B $4.93B
2019-02-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade $4.56B
2019-03-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade
2019-04-01 12:00 AM Balance of Trade



South Korea Trade Surplus Smallest in 10 Months

South Korea’s trade surplus narrowed to USD 4.56 billion in December of 2018 from USD 5.51 billion in the same month of the preceding year, a preliminary data showed. It was the smallest trade surplus since February, as imports rose while exports fell.

Year-on-year, imports increased 0.9 percent to USD 43.91 billion, far lower than a 11.5 percent rise in November and missing market expectations of a 4.2 percent growth.

Exports declined 1.2 percent to USD 48.46 billion, following a 4.1 percent gain in a month earlier and also below market estimates of a 3.3 percent rise. It was the first drop in outbound shipments in three months, amid ongoing trade conflict between China and the US. Sales of semiconductors, which dominate the country’s sales, were down 8.3 percent.

Exports to China, South Korea's top trading partner, contracted 13.9 percent and marking the second straight month of fall.

For full 2018, the trade surplus was at USD 70.5 billion, reaching the 10th straight year the country sold more goods than it bought. Sales for the year grew 5.5 percent from the same period the prior year to a record high of USD 605.5 billion, about a third of the 15.8 percent gain in the preceding year, with shipments of semiconductors, general machinery and petrochemicals mainly contributing to the increase in 2018. Among major trading partners, exports to China surged 14.2 percent to USD 162.2 billion, supported by strong demand for memory chips, petrochemical products and general machinery. Also, sales to the US rose 6 percent to USD 72.7 billion, driven by general machinery and memory chips, and despite tougher import restrictions imposed by the administration of President Donald Trump. Exports to the ASEAN countries grew 5.3 percent to USD 100.3 billion, due to solid sales of memory chips and petrochemical products. Meanwhile purchases for the year jumped 11.8 percent to USD 505.0 billion.


Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com
1/1/2019 3:09:09 AM



South Korea Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 4558.00 4931.19 13419.36 -4043.46 USD Million [+]
Current Account 5063.40 9190.00 12287.50 -3756.80 USD Million [+]
Current Account to GDP 5.60 7.00 10.70 -10.50 percent [+]
Imports 43906.00 46834.52 48486.10 38.61 USD Million [+]
Exports 48646.00 51765.72 55115.24 14.75 USD Million [+]
External Debt 449529.10 440543.60 452718.00 80766.40 USD Million [+]
Terms of Trade 97.90 95.90 237.00 86.10 Index Points [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 7698000.00 3448981.00 10819799.00 0.00 USD Thousand [+]
Capital Flows 4247.90 10670.50 12440.20 -3385.80 USD Million [+]
Tourism Revenues 1261800.00 1530400.00 1765400.00 326500.00 USD Million [+]
Tourist Arrivals 1350390.00 1527832.00 1703495.00 213006.00 [+]
Gold Reserves 104.40 104.40 104.44 13.00 Tonnes [+]
Terrorism Index 0.61 0.23 2.62 0.00 [+]
Weapons Sales 587.00 585.00 587.00 7.00 USD Million [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



South Korea Balance of Trade

Since 2009 South Korea has been recording trade surpluses due to exports growth. The country exports mainly machinery and transport equipment, oil, iron, steel and plastics while it imports oil, electrical machinery, natural gas and food. Main trading partners are: China (26 percent of total exports and 21 percent of total imports) and the United States (13 percent of exports and 10 percent of imports). Others include: Japan, ASEAN countries and Germany. This page provides the latest reported value for - South Korea Balance of Trade - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. South Korea Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on January of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
4558.00 4931.19 13419.36 -4043.46 1966 - 2018 USD Million Monthly




Country Last Previous
Argentina 979.00 Nov/18
Australia 1925.00 Nov/18
Brazil 6639.00 Dec/18
Canada -2060.10 Nov/18
China 570.60 Dec/18
Euro Area 18967.90 Nov/18
France -5099.00 Nov/18
Germany 20500.00 Nov/18
India -13080.00 Dec/18
Indonesia -1102.00 Dec/18
Italy 3843.00 Nov/18
Japan -737.30 Nov/18
Mexico -2382.00 Nov/18
Netherlands 6983.00 Nov/18
Russia 18984.00 Nov/18
Saudi Arabia 184673.00 Sep/18
Singapore 1943.12 Dec/18
South Africa 3494.40 Nov/18
South Korea 4558.00 Dec/18
Spain -3836500.00 Oct/18
Switzerland 3071.48 Nov/18
Turkey -651.36 Nov/18
United Kingdom -2904.00 Nov/18
United States -55488.00 Oct/18


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