SEJONG, Dec. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea posted a trade surplus for the 46th month in a row in November as imports dropped at a much faster pace than exports, customs data showed Tuesday.
According to data from the Korea Customs Service (KCS), the country’s trade surplus reached a record high of US$10.32 billion last month, up nearly two-fold from the $5.26 billion reported a year earlier. The total was also up sharply from the $6.6 billion reported for October.
Exports were down 4.8 percent on-year to $44.38 billion last month, while imports plunged 17.6 percent to $34.06 billion. In November 2014, exports hit $46.6 billion, with imports standing at $41.34 billion.
South Korea’s trade account has been in the black since February 2012.
Last month, exports of ships, car parts and wired telecommunications terminal equipment all rose, while numbers for semiconductors, passenger cars, refined petroleum products, mobile communication devices and displays fell.
Outbound shipments of wired telecommunications devices and ships soared 53.8 percent and 135.5 percent, respectively, with car parts edging up 1.5 percent on-year.’
Exports of semiconductors and automobiles were down 9.8 percent and 9.2 percent, with shipments of mobile devices backtracking 14.9 percent.
By region, exports to the European Union and Australia moved up 52.5 percent and 9.4 percent each. Numbers for China, South Korea’s No. 1 export market, were down 6.8 percent, with figures for the United States falling 12.4 percent on-year.
Inbound shipments of crude oil, chemicals, machinery and steel products all declined last month. Crude oil, which accounts for a sizable part of South Korea’s imports, plunged 47.2 percent on-year. On the plus side, imports of computer chips and information technology products rose.
Inbound goods from China rose 2.2 percent last month, although numbers for the U.S., EU, the Middle East, Japan, Australia and Latin America fell compared to the year before.
In the 11 months of 2015, South Korea’s cumulative exports reached $484.5 billion, down 7.4 percent from a year earlier, while imports came to $401.3 billion, representing a 16.7 percent drop.
In the January-October period, the country’s trade surplus stood at $83.2 billion, much larger than the $41.6 billion in the black posted for the same period in 2014, according to the KCS data. The surplus for this year has already exceeded the total for the whole of 2014, which stood at $47.2 billion.