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Financial News: South Korea Exports Fall At Slowest Pace In

South Korea Exports Fall At Slowest Pace In 8 Months

12/31/2019 - 22:44:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - South Korea's exports declined at the slowest pace in eight months in December, data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy revealed on Wednesday.

Exports decreased 5.2 percent year-on-year in December. This was the smallest drop since April. Economists had forecast shipments to decline 6 percent after falling 14.4 percent in November.

Exports of South Korea to its biggest export destination, China, increased 3.3 percent, which was the first growth in 14 months. However, shipments to the US fell 0.4 percent.

Imports logged an annual decline of 0.7 percent versus the expected fall of 4.6 percent and November's 13 percent decrease, data showed.

As a result, the trade surplus fell to $2.02 billion from $3.34 billion in November. The trade balance has posted surplus over the last 95 consecutive months.

In the whole year of 2019, exports plunged 10.3 percent reflecting weak global trade as well as subdued demand for semiconductors. At the same time, imports were down 6 percent.

The trade surplus totaled $39.1 billion in 2019, marking the 11th straight year that the economy registered a surplus.

The trade ministry expects a recovery in exports this year. Exports are forecast to advance 3 percent in 2020.

In order to revive economic growth, the central bank had reduced the interest rate twice in 2019, by 25 basis points each in July and October. The rate currently stands at a record low 1.25 percent.

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