Korea’s global trade ranking slipped for the first time in 17 years. The Bank of Korea announced on May 20 that the country ranked ninth in terms of trade share last month, following China, the U.S., Germany, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Britain, and Hong Kong.
Korea had ranked eighth in 2012 and 12th in 1997. The country’s share has shown consistent growth since 1998 from 14th. However, imports were affected by the recession of last year, when the import amount fell 0.7 percent year-on-year to US$515.6 billion. The share of exports from Korea declined in 2013, too.
“Last year’s sizable current account surplus can be attributed to a decline in exports,” said Lee Jun-hyup, research analyst at the Hyundai Research Institute, adding, “The decreased export is what reflects the weak domestic demand as of late.”
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Korea’s export share in the global trade market has fallen from 3.05 percent in 2010 to 3.03 percent in 2011 and 2.98 percent in the two subsequent years.
The sluggish export performance is predicted to continue throughout this year as well due to the strong won based on the high current account surplus.