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Exports forecast to extend slides in April: data

All Headlines 15:49 April 11, 2016

SEJONG, April 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports are expected to shrink again in April from a year earlier, extending its losing streak to a fresh record of 16 straight months, customs data showed Monday.

In the first 10 days of the month, outbound shipments plunged 25.7 percent to US$10.53 billion from the same period last year, according to data from the Korea Customs Office.

If the downside trend continues during the remaining days of the month, the drop in April will mark the 16th consecutive month decline, representing the longest-ever streak in the country's history.

Exports, the key economic driver for Asia's fourth-largest economy, fell every single month of last year to reach an 8 percent drop for all of 2015 due to waning demand from emerging markets amid low global oil prices.

The figure plunged 18.5 percent on-year in January alone, the fastest rate of monthly decline since August 2009, and 12.2 percent in February. In March, it retreated 8.2 percent.

The customs office attributed the sharp drop to protracted weak oil prices, which dragged down prices of South Korea's petroleum and chemicals products.

It said reduced business days also affected the decline as there were only six working days in the first 10 days of April this year.

The trade ministry earlier said that it is too early to say that the country's exports have safely got on the recovery track, as there is no improvement in external factors such as oil prices and sluggish global demand.

But it expected the country's exports to improve to some extent in the coming months thanks to a slight upside movement in oil prices, as they hover around $40 in April, compared with $22 in early January.

brk@yna.co.kr
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