South Korea logged a trade surplus in April for the 15th straight month, fueled by exports of petroleum products, ships and vehicles, the nation’s customs office said Sunday.
The trade surplus reached $5.14 billion last month, according to data released by the Korea Customs Service. The figure marks the 15th consecutive month of surplus since February 2010.
Exports stood at $49.15 billion in April, up 25.1 percent from one year ago, while imports grew 23.9 percent on-year to $44.01 billion, the data showed. Oil-related products and ships drove export growth, with their overseas sales up 78.3 percent and 54.7 percent from one year ago, respectively. Overseas shipments of cars jumped 37.1 percent in the same period.
Exports bound for Japan hit a record high of $3.58 billion last month, up 63 percent from a year earlier, as the March earthquake hiked demand for daily necessities and materials for post-disaster reconstruction, including bottled water, Korean “ramyeon” instant noodles, plywood and fabric.
Exports to Southeast Asia and the United States also rose 35.8 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively, in the same period, according to the data. Exports to Europe grew 13.5 percent on-year last month.
Imports rose because of higher costs of raw materials, according to the customs office. Crude oil imports rose 51 percent on-year while imports of coal, natural gas, iron ore and rubber also increased.