November 02, 2015 11:31
Korea's exports took the steepest dive in six years in October, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Saturday.
Experts say exports will not gain traction again unless structural problems like the global economic slump and falling international oil prices are resolved.
Exports fell 15.8 percent on-year in October to US$43.47 billion, down for the 10th straight month. The decline was the steepest since August 2009, just after the global financial crisis.
But as usual Korea still achieved a trade surplus because imports fell even further, by 16.6 percent. It was the 45th month of surpluses.
Experts attribute the steep export decline mainly to a base effect in October last year, when outbound shipments hit a monthly high.
In money terms, the picture was not as bad, with exports more or less the same as in September's $43.48 billion.
Out of Korea's 13 major export products, only earnings from mobile phones increased, by 42 percent, while all the others fell.
Ship and offshore platform exports plunged 64 percent on-year because no offshore plans were sold abroad at all, while petrochemical exports dropped around 32 percent as four refineries simultaneously underwent repairs, according to Shin Seung-kwan at the Korea International Trade Association.
The picture is not much better elsewhere. Germany’s exports from January to September fell 13 percent on-year, while Japan's dropped 9.2 percent until August.
Korea's exports fell 7.6 percent for the first 10 months of this year.
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