The Korea Herald


Exports log worst fall in six years

By 정주원

Published : Nov. 1, 2015 - 18:08

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Korea’s exports recorded $43.47 billion in October, down 15.8 percent from a year earlier to mark the sharpest fall in six years, the Trade Ministry said Sunday.

But ministry officials said monthly trade managed to post a surplus as imports on-year dropped 16.6 percent to $36.78 billion.

October marked the 10th consecutive straight month of export contraction and the 45th straight month of trade surplus.

The officials attributed the fall in exports to continued weak global demand and drops in shipments to the nation’s major trade partners like China and the U.S.

“Weak global raw material prices led to the decline in both prices of products and volume of products shipped abroad,” a ministry official said.

This is the greatest fall since August 2009, when exports nose-dived 20.9 percent due to the global financial crisis.   

By product category, almost all major exported goods saw a decrease in outbound shipments, except for the latest models of smartphones.

According to the Trade Ministry data, Korea’s October exports decreased 44.9 percent for petroleum products, 31.6 percent for petrochemical goods, 7 percent for semiconductors and 63.7 percent for shipbuilding.

Car exports dipped 1.3 percent amid falling demand in emerging economies, and steel exports fell 29.6 percent due to falling prices of raw materials.

By region, exports to China, Korea‘s largest outbound market, fell 8 percent. Exports to the United States and the European Union dipped 11.4 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. Exports to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also fell 12.6 percent.

In the annual scope, Korean trade volume stood at $807.8 billion. With only two months remaining until the year’s end, Trade Ministry officials are pessimistic about the chances that the country will achieve its $1 trillion trade goal this year for the fifth straight time.

The ministry forecast the country’s exports to continue to stay in minus territory in November, with a slight recovery in the numbers.

By Chung Joo-won (