South Korea's trade surplus shrank significantly from a year earlier last month as imports grew at a faster rate than exports, the government said Saturday.
The country's overall outbound shipments rose 1.6 percent on-year to US$42.98 billion in February with its imports gaining 4 percent to $42.06 billion, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The country's trade balance stayed in the black for the 25th consecutive month with a surplus of $926 million in February. The figure, however, marked a big drop from a $1.87 billion surplus posted in the same month last year.
"The growth of our exports fell short of our earlier expectations due to economic crises in newly emerging countries prompted by delayed economic recoveries in advanced countries," the ministry said in a press release.
Outbound shipments to Latin American countries plunged 11.9 percent on-year in February with exports to the United States also slipping 6.7 percent.
Exports to the European Union, on the other hand, surged 10.6 percent with shipments to the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also jumping 15.1 percent. Shipments to China gained 3.8 percent on-year.
By product, outbound shipments of IT products continued to grow while those of petroleum products dropped significantly, partly due to a fall in prices, according to the ministry.
Exports of mobile communications devices, such as cellular phones, spiked 34.5 percent on-year with those of semiconductors also jumping 14.5 percent. Automobile exports grew 9.1 percent.
Shipments of petroleum products, on the other hand, plunged 15.4 percent on-year. Shipments of petrochemical products also shrank 6.8 percent.