Korea Suffers Further Dip in Exports

      June 02, 2015 11:25

      Korea's vital exports fell 10.9 percent in May compared to the same month last year to US$42.4 billion, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Monday. That marks five straight months of decline and the biggest monthly drop in five years and nine months.

      Imports also fell around 15 percent on-year, so Korea still achieved a $6.3 billion trade surplus for the 40th-consecutive month.

      Among the top exports, shipments of petroleum products fell 40 percent, of home appliances 35 percent, of petrochemical products 23 percent and of steel 19 percent.

      Exports to China dwindled 3.3 percent, and exports to the U.S. shrank 7.1 percent. However, shipments of mobile communications devices and semiconductors rose, driven by booming sales of Samsung and LG's new flagship smartphones.

      The crunch is global, and Korea is not the only nation suffering from declining exports. While China's exports grew 4.7 percent in the first quarter, top exporters worldwide saw shipments dwindle, with the Netherlands down a whopping 17.7 percent, France 15.5 percent, Germany 13.4 percent, Japan six percent and the U.S. 5.1 percent.

      Korea's export volume also fell 0.9 percent in April and 3.1 percent in May. A major source of concern is that the U.S. and Chinese economies are sputtering.

      Shin Seung-kwan at the Korea International Trade Association said, "The government must pursue a full-court-press approach like Japan to aid exports by allowing the won to depreciate and take other measures to boost the economy."

      The government, which projected exports this year to rise 3.5 percent compared to 2014, plans to revise its outlook and announce a comprehensive set of support measures.

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