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S. Korea's exports down 0.2 pct in March amid COVID-19 fallout

All News 09:00 April 01, 2020

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports fell 0.2 percent in March from a year earlier in the face of the growing economic fallout from the global new coronavirus pandemic, data showed Wednesday.

Outbound shipments came to US$46.9 billion last month, compared with $47 billion posted a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports also moved down 0.3 percent on-year in March to $41.8 billion.

The country's trade surplus came to $5 billion in March, marking 98 straight months, in which the country's exports have exceeded imports.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has put great strains on Asia's fourth-largest economy as global trade and supply chains have been disrupted.

The trade ministry suggested in January its annual exports are set to rebound 3 percent this year on the back of the recovery of chips, compared with last year's 10 percent drop.

The sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections around the globe over February and March, however, has made the goal much less feasible.

South Korea's finance ministry said earlier the economy may contract in the first quarter of the year on weaker exports and private spending.

The South Korean economy grew 2 percent last year, the lowest in a decade, and had been expected to rebound to 2.3 percent growth this year.

The Bank of Korea, however, trimmed its outlook for the economy in 2020 to 2.1 percent from the previous 2.3 percent prediction, with a further cut in its growth estimate likely in the coming months.

S. Korea's exports down 0.2 pct in March amid COVID-19 fallout - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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