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Exports up 4.7% during first 10 days of July

Cargo ships anchored at Busan Port (Yonhap)
Cargo ships anchored at Busan Port (Yonhap)

South Korea's exports rose 4.7 percent on-year in the first 10 days of July on demand for chips and petroleum products, but the country suffered a trade deficit on soaring fuel costs, data showed Monday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at $15.8 billion in the July 1-10 period, compared with $15.1 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Imports grew 14.1 percent on-year to $21.3 billion during the cited period, resulting in a trade deficit of $5.53 billion.

If the current trend continues, South Korea is likely to post a trade deficit for the fourth consecutive month in July due to soaring energy costs caused by the protracted war between Russia and Ukraine.

Exports, which account for half of the economy, rose 5.4 percent on-year in June, extending their gains to the 20th month, according to the trade ministry.

But high oil and commodity prices pushed up the country's imports, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.47 billion last month. In the first half, a trade deficit hit an all-time high of $10.3 billion.

Imports of crude oil soared 95.4 percent during the first 10 days of July, and those of coal jumped 125.8 percent. South Korea heavily relies on imports for most of its energy needs.

By sector, exports of semiconductors, a key export item, went up 10.4 percent on-year. Semiconductors accounted for about 20 percent of South Korea's exports.

Exports of petroleum products soared 96.7 percent on-year on the back of high oil prices.

Shipments of autos increased 6.1 percent despite a chronic shortage of auto chips. Autos accounted for some 7 percent of South Korea's exports.

By country, exports to China, South Korea's largest trading partner, fell 8.9 percent, while those to the United States rose 6.2 percent.

In June, the government forecast Asia's fourth-largest economy to grow 2.6 percent this year and inflation to spike 4.7 percent. (Yonhap)

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