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Korea logs trade surplus for 45th straight month in Oct.

South Korea posted a trade surplus for the 45th month in a row in October as imports dropped at a faster pace than exports, customs data showed Sunday.

According to the data by the Korea Customs Service, the country's trade surplus reached $6.65 billion last month, down from $7.53 billion a year earlier. The total was also down from $8.89 billion reported for September.

Exports dropped 15.9 percent on-year to $43.42 billion last month, while imports fell a sharp 16.6 percent to $36.77 billion.

In October 2014, exports hit $51.63 billion, with imports standing at $44.09 billion.

South Korea's trade account has been in the black since February 2012.

Last month, outbound shipments of mobile communication devices surged 23.6 percent on-year, with numbers for wired telecommunication terminal equipment jumping 49.4 percent.

Outbound shipments of semiconductors and automobiles were down 7.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Numbers also dropped for refined petroleum, steel products, car parts, liquid crystal displays and ships.

By region, exports to Hong Kong rose 8.8 percent, but shipments to China and the United States backtracked 8 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively. China and the U.S. are the two largest markets for South Korean-made goods.

Exports to the European Union, Latin America, the Middle East and Japan all declined compared with the year before.

Inbound shipments of crude oil, chemicals, machinery, steel products all declined last month. Crude oil, which accounts for a sizable part of South Korea's imports, plunged 44.5 percent on-year. On the plus side, imports of computer chips and information technology products rose.

Inbound goods from the U.S. and China jumped 7.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, last month, although numbers for the EU, the Middle East, Japan, Australia and Latin America fell vis-a-vis the year before.

In the first 10 months of 2015, South Korea's cumulative exports reached $440.2 billion, down 7.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports came to $367.3 billion, representing a 16.6 percent drop.

In the January-October period, the country's trade surplus stood at $72.9 billion, much larger than the $36.3 billion in the black posted for the same period in 2014, according to the KCS data. The surplus for this year has already exceeded the total for the whole of 2014, which stood at $47.2 billion. (Yonhap)

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