South Korean exports falls 11.2 percent

Seoul, May 1 (IANS) South Korea’s exports slid 11.2 percent in April compared to the same period last year, the government announced on Sunday.

Goods sales overseas were worth $41 billion, according to data supplied by the country’s ministry of trade, industry and energy.

South Korean imports, meanwhile, fell 14.9 percent year-on-year to stand at $32.2 billion, bringing the trade surplus of Asia’s fourth largest economy to $8.8 billion in April, EFE news reported.

While the country has continually shown a positive trade balance since February 2012, it has registered falling exports and imports for 16 consecutive months now.

The latter is a concern for the President Park Geun-hye-led government as exports make up nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP.

In his report, the trade minister attributed the dip in April, higher than that of March when exports declined 8.2 percent inter annually, mainly to the high number of holidays in South Korea in the last 30 days.

“Considering various factors, such as the cut in the number of working days that led to a drop in overall exports, conditions for South Korean exports cannot be said to have deteriorated in April,” said the statement released by the ministry.

The fall in crude oil prices has also affected the country since last year, given petroleum derivatives and petrochemical products are among the main things it manufactures; exports of these two goods decreased 10.8 and 14.5 percent respectively compared to April 2015.

Exports of semiconductors also dropped 11.5 percent, although ship exports and those of mobile phones rose 25.2 and 3.2 percent respectively.

The slowdown in China, South Korea’s main trading partner, has also had an impact during the last year, with Seoul’s exports to the world’s second largest economy having fallen for the tenth month in a row; for April 2016, this figure is 18.4 percent.

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