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(LEAD) Exports down 12.7 pct during first 10 days of June; trade deficit widens

All News 09:46 June 13, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports fell 12.7 percent on-year in the first 10 days of June due largely to fewer working days, and the country suffered a trade deficit due to high fuel costs, data showed Monday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$15.07 billion in the June 1-10 period, compared with $17.3 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

The fall in exports came as the number of working days in June was fewer than a year earlier due to public holidays, including the June 1 local elections and the June 6 Memorial Day.

Imports rose 17.5 percent on-year to $21 billion during the cited period, resulting in a trade deficit of $5.99 billion.

This file photo, taken May 23, 2022, shows stacks of containers at a port in South Korea's southeastern city of Busan. (Yonhap)

If the trend continues, the country is poised to post a trade deficit for the third straight month in June due to soaring energy costs caused by Russia's war with Ukraine.

Exports, which account for half of the economy, rose 21.3 percent on-year in May, extending their gains to the 19th month, according to the trade ministry.

But high oil and commodity prices drove up the country's imports, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.71 billion last month.

Imports of crude oil soared 88.1 percent during the first 10 days of June, and those of coal jumped 223.9 percent. South Korea heavily relies on imports for most of its energy needs.

Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, came to $122.1 per barrel on Friday, up 54.7 percent from the end of last year.

By sector, exports of semiconductors, a key export item, went up 0.8 percent on-year. Semiconductors accounted for about 20 percent of South Korea's exports.

Exports of petroleum products soared 94.5 percent on-year on the back of high oil prices.

Shipments of autos, however, declined 35.6 percent amid a chronic shortage of automotive chips. Autos accounted for some 7 percent of South Korea's exports.

By country, exports to China, South Korea's largest trading partner, fell 16.2 percent and those to the United States went down 9.7 percent.

In its latest revised outlook in May, the Bank of Korea (BOK) forecast Asia's fourth-largest economy to grow 2.7 percent this year and inflation to spike 4.5 percent.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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