(LEAD) Exports down, trade deficit widens during first 10 days of Sept.
(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 4-5, 8-16; RECASTS headline, lead to highlight trade deficit)
SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports fell 16.6 percent on-year in the first 10 days of September due mainly to fewer working days over the Chuseok holiday, with its trade deficit widening on high energy costs, data showed Tuesday.
The country's outbound shipments stood at US$16.25 billion in the Sept. 1-10 period, compared with $19.48 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Imports also went down 10.9 percent on-year to $18.69 billion during the cited period, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.44 billion.
It is larger than $1.48 billion logged the same period a year earlier.
If the current trend continues, South Korea is likely to post a trade deficit for the sixth straight month in September for the first time in about 25 years.
The number of working days during the period came to 6.5 days, with the comparable figure for last year coming to 8.5 days.
The Chuseok holiday, or the Korean fall harvest celebration, started Friday and ran through Monday this year.
The daily exports, however, grew 9 percent on-year, and the average per-day imports jumped 16.6 percent on-year during the cited period, the agency said.
By sector, exports of semiconductors grew 7.9 percent on-year. Chips are one of the country's key export items, accounting for about 20 percent of the total exports.
Last month, the semiconductor exports fell for the first time in 26 months amid the fall in global chip prices.
The outbound shipment of petroleum products also increased 11.7 percent on-year during the Sept. 1-10 period.
But exports of cars and auto parts fell 17.9 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively, on-year, and those of steel products also dived 36.4 percent, the data showed.
By country, exports to China, South Korea's largest trading partner, fell 20.9 percent, following three months of on-year fall from June.
Those to the United States also went down 11.6 percent and those to the European Union retreated 23.2 percent on-year during the first 10 days of September, according to the data.
The growth in imports this month was due mainly to high oil and gas prices amid the prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Imports of crude oil rose 15.7 percent to $3.28 billion and those of gas spiked 92.3 percent to $2.16 billion during the cited period, according to the agency.
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