The Korea Herald


S. Korea’s first trade balance deficit in 99 months likely

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : April 29, 2020 - 18:02

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Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom (Ministry of Economy and Finance) Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom (Ministry of Economy and Finance)

South Korea’s trade balance in April could swing to its first deficit in 99 months due to an exports slump amid the global coronavirus pandemic, according to officials on Wednesday.

“It is a bit early to predict, but the chances are high that April’s trade balance will see a deficit, (which marks the first time) in 99 months since January 2012,” said Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom during a press briefing.

“A drop in exports was much bigger than that of imports this month and the country’s trade balance marked a $3.5 billion deficit as of April 20.”

The total amount of exports and imports in the first 20 days of April stood at $21.7 billion and $25.2 billion, down 26.9 percent and 18.6 percent from a year earlier, respectively, data showed. 

Considering the deepening global recession stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, exports in April would post the steepest decline since the global financial crisis in 2009, Kim added. 

Exports in March and May of 2009 decreased by 22.5 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively. 

Meanwhile, lower shipments and trade deficit are not entirely negative to the economy as domestic conditions, such as production and investment activities, showed more stable flow compared to other countries over Korea’s swift response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Korea reported nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The number of new infections stayed at 15 or below for 11 days in a row, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By Choi Jae-hee (