Trade Surplus Hits 17 Months High despite Falling Exports Korea's Exports in May Fell by Another 6.9 Percent Even as the Difference between Exports and Imports Reached the Highest Level in 17 Months Due to Contracting Imports
With the accumulated trade surplus for the year surpassing $5 billion in the first five months of the year, there is cautious optimism that outbound shipments will begin picking up in the second half.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) said exports tentatively registered $13,632 million last month against imports of $11,555 million, down 13 percent, for a trade surplus of $2,077 million, the highest since the $2,380 million in December 1999.
The May performance brought the total outbound shipments for the year to $60,778, down 2.2 percent, and inbound shipments to $60,778, down 7.1 percent, for an accumulated surplus of $5,153 million.
``What we are noticing is a slowdown in the contraction of both exports and imports as global market conditions show signs of improving in the second half,'' a senior trade official said.
He said the international prices of such leading export items as semiconductors and computers are stabilizing and so are those of crude oil, which are all positive factors for Korea.
``There have been international forecasts that the global information technology industry and economic conditions in the United States would begin recovering in the second half,'' the official predicted.
Even as leading items struggled, industries like shipbuilding, petrochemicals and mobile handsets turned in strong performances, with exports increasing by 84, 36 and 20 percent respectively from a year ago. …