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Exports slump extended to 6th month amid virus fallout

All News 09:00 September 01, 2020

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports extended their slump to a sixth month in August as the resurgence of the new coronavirus around the globe continued to strain business activities, data showed Tuesday.

Outbound shipments came to US$39.6 billion last month, down 9.9 percent from $44 billion posted a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The latest figures were slightly better than what the market had expected. According to a poll by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency, the country's August exports were expected to have dipped 12 percent on-year.

Imports shed 16.3 percent to $35.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.12 billion. The country snapped its 98 straight months of having more exports than imports in April, before rebounding to the black in May.

Exports slump extended to 6th month amid virus fallout - 1

In July, exports decreased 7 percent on-year, following the 10.9 percent drop in June and the 23.7 percent decline in May.

South Korea earlier saw its outbound shipments rise 4.5 percent for the first time in 14 months in February, before the pandemic hit the global economy hard.

In 2019, the country's outbound shipments dipped more than 10 percent due to the low price of memory chips, along with the trade row between the United States and China.

The weak exports have so far dealt a harsh blow to Asia's No. 4 economy.

Last week, the central bank slashed its annual economic growth outlook for South Korea, expecting a sharper-than-expected contraction of 1.3 percent.

The latest projection marked a sharp cut from the bank's estimate in May of a 0.2 percent contraction. It would mark the worst performance since 1998, when the Korean economy shrank 5.1 percent in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.


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