South Korea Trade Surplus Little Changed in December
South Korea recorded a USD 7.0 billion trade surplus in December of 2016, compared to a USD 6.9 billion surplus a year earlier, as exports rose 6.4 percent from a year earlier to USD 45.07 billion while imports went up 7.3 percent to USD 38.07 billion, preliminary data showed.
In December, sales grew for the second straight month and in line with market expectations. Outbound shipments rose for semi-conductors (+19.9 percent), machinery and petrochemicals. In contrast, sales dropped for automobiles (-7.9 percent) and wireless devices (-2.0 percent).
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Exports jumped 30.8 percent to the EU countries, followed by those to China (+9.6 percent). In contrast, exports to China decreased by 2.3 percent.
In November 2016, trade surplus was upwardly revised to USD 8.2 billion.
Considering full year of 2016, sales declined by 5.9 percent to USD 495.5 billion, slower than a 8.0 percent drop in 2015. Purchases were down by 7.1 percent to USD 405.7 billion, much less than a 16.9 percent decline in the preceding year. That brought the trade surplus during of USD 89.8 billion, down slightly from USD 90.3 billion in a year earlier.
For 2017, exports are expected to rise 2.9 percent, supported by improving global demand, while imports are projected to grow by 7.2 percent. For the year, trade conditions will likely face downside risks from possible US protectionist measures under the administration of president-elect Donald Trump and a slowdown in China.
The trade balance has been in consistent surpluses since February 2012.