Korea posted a trade surplus for the 19th straight month in August.
According to “Export and Import Trends in August” published by the Korea Customs Service on September 15, Korea’s exports reached US$46.3 billion last month, a 7.7% year-on-year increase, and a 1.2% gain from the previous month (US$45.835 billion).
The nation's imports recorded US$41.5 billion in August, a nominal 1% increase from a year earlier (US$4.11 million), down 4.1% compared to July (US$4.33 million).
A trade surplus in August hit US$4.85 billion for the 19th month in a row, from February 2012. The size of the country's trade surplus last month increased by US$2.3 billion compared to July (US$2.54 billion).
Among export items, petroleum and steel products saw a negative growth with -6.4% and -3.7% each, compared with the same period in the previous year. In contrast, five industries saw double-digit increases compared to the same period last year. Automobiles achieved a 47.8% gain, ships at 23.8%, semiconductor products at 21.7%, wireless telecommunications devices at 15.7%, and petrochemicals with 10.8%.
By region, exports to Australia, the US, China, and Southeast Asian countries showed an upward trend with 22.9%, 17.9%, 12.8%, and 6.6%, respectively. But outbound shipments to Japan, the EU, and Middle Eastern countries posted a negative growth with -13.3%, -8.9%, and -5.0% each.
Imports of consumer goods such as rice, wheat and beef continued their surplus trend (7.1%) for 12 consecutive months, but raw materials represented a negative growth of -3.7%. Those of capital goods, including machinery, semiconductor products, manufacturing equipment, and auto parts, jumped 9.8%.
In January-August this year, exports grew 1.7% over the same period last year to reach US$368.7 billion, while imports fell 1.7% to reach US$341.4 billion. In total, the accumulated trade surplus posted US$27.4 billion.