SEOUL - The latest trade data indicates a deceleration in the decline of South Korean exports in September, marking the most moderate reduction over the past 12 months. This trend may offer insights into global economic dynamics, given South Korea's significant role in international trade.
In September, exports from South Korea, recognized as Asia's fourth-largest economy, saw a 4.4% decrease year-on-year, amounting to $54.66 billion. This is an improvement compared to the 8.3% decline witnessed in August. The current data contrasts with a predicted 9.1% decline as per earlier surveys.
Despite this being the 12th consecutive month showcasing a decrease in exports, it represents the least significant decline in the ongoing trend.
The data further highlights the following:
- China-bound exports reported a dip, but at a reduced rate of 17.6% - the least pronounced in the past 11 months.
- There was an upward trajectory in exports directed to the United States and the European Union, with increases of 8.5% and 6.5% respectively.
- Sector-specific data revealed a 13.6% decline in semiconductor exports, a 9.5% increase in car exports, machinery exports growing by 9.8%, and a notable 15.4% boost in ship exports.
Trade Minister Bang Moon-kyu commented on the data, suggesting that the trajectory of exports is on a path of improvement, possibly approaching a phase of growth in the foreseeable future.
In relation to imports, there was a 16.5% decline, reaching $50.96 billion, which is a more moderate decrease than the previous month's 22.8%. The anticipated forecast was a median decline of 17.6%.
Resultantly, South Korea reported a trade surplus of $3.70 billion for September. This marks the fourth consecutive month of trade surplus, making it the most considerable surplus since September 2021.