June 14, 2022 11:02
Korea's trade deficit has reached an estimated US$13.8 billion so far this year, already exceeding the previous record of $9.16 billion for the first half set during the Asian financial crisis.
According to the Korea Customs Service on Monday, this year's trade deficit had reached $13.82 billion by June 10. Imports soared 17.5 percent on-year in the first 10 days of June due to sky-high crude oil and coal prices, while exports dwindled 12.7 percent as workers took two days off for local elections and Memorial Day.
The ratio of oil, gas and coal to total imports hit 24.9 percent so far this year, the highest since 2016. International prices of grains and raw materials are also rising, which suggests that the drastic rise in import prices is set to continue while the won weakens.
Even until May the cumulative trade deficit this year stood at only $7.84 billion, but it swelled a whopping $6 billion in early June alone.
If the trend continues, this year’s total trade deficit could exceed 1996's $20.62 billion. An Economy and Finance Ministry official said, "It's unlikely, but we should brace for it."
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