South Korea’s exports fall to record low

South Korea’s exports have decreased for the seventh consecutive month in April, recording the longest losing streak in three years, due to sluggish sales to China and other global market pressures. The disappointing figures come in spite of the reopening of the Chinese market, a major market for South Korean goods, particularly semiconductors. This slump increases the challenge for policymakers as they aim for a robust recovery post-COVID.

The overseas sales of the country’s fourth-largest economy were recorded at $49.62 billion, falling by 14.2% YoY in April, after declining by 13.6% in February. The figures were also lower than the 13.5% decline that was projected by Reuters. The country’s domestic economy is struggling to grow, influenced by the global economy’s slow pace.

Export to China declined by 26.5%, with a fall of 4.4% to the United States, while shipments to the European Union increased by 9.9%. The semiconductor industry experienced a 41% decline, continuing its losses for the ninth consecutive month, while petroleum products fell 27.3%. However, automobiles exports surged by 40.3%.

According to a statement from the trade ministry, the fall was due to delays in global economic recovery and weakness in the semiconductor industry. Additionally, there were fewer working days and high base effects. Imports also fell by 13.3% to $52.23 billion in April, the largest fall since August 2020, resulting in the country posting a trade deficit of $2.62 billion. It was the 14th straight month in which the export-dependent economy recorded a monthly trade deficit.

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