Published : 2013-01-01 20:27
Updated : 2013-01-01 20:27
South Korea’s trade surplus shrank from a year earlier as exports dropped at a faster rate than imports, the government said Tuesday.
The country’s trade surplus came to about $2.03 billion last month, compared with a $4.48-billion surplus in November and $3.8-billion surplus in October.
The drop comes mainly from a large reduction in exports, which dropped 5.5 percent from that of December 2011 to some $45.1 billion. Imports shrank 5.3 percent on-year to $43.07 billion, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The ministry attributed the fall in exports to a drop in the number of working days in December.
“The export volume, which had been showing a growing trend since October, posted a (year-on-year) reduction for the first time in three months as the number of working days dropped from 24.5 in 2011 to only 21.5 days last month,” it said in a press release.
For the whole of 2012, the country’s exports came to $548.2 billion, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier, with its imports shrinking 0.9 percent on-year to $519.5 billion.
With its exports shrinking at a faster rate than imports, the country’s trade surplus also dwindled from $33.3 billion in 2011 to $28.6 billion.
“The country still reached the $1 trillion mark in trade for a second consecutive year despite a number of domestic and external uncertainties,” the ministry said.
South Korea became the world’s ninth country in 2011 to have ever reached $1 trillion in trade. In 2012, it is believed to have surpassed Italy to become the world’s eighth-largest trading nation for the first time in its history. Such a ranking is expected to become official when the World Trade Organization announces its official tallies later in the year, a ministry official said.
For 2013, the ministry forecast the country’s exports will grow 4.1 percent from last year to $570.5 billion.
However, it said the country’s trade surplus will further shrink from last year to $25 billion as the country’s imports are expected to gain 5 percent on-year to $545.5 billion.
“The global economy will likely face a high level of uncertainties due to the prolonged EU financial crisis, but it may also see some mild improvements afforded by strong policy initiatives of major economies,” it said. (Yonhap News)