SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports fell for an eighth consecutive month in May due mainly to weak demand for semiconductors amid an economic slowdown, the industry ministry said Thursday.
Outbound shipments fell 15.2 percent on-year to US$52.24 billion last month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The decline came as exports of semiconductors, the country's key export item, sank 36.2 percent on falling demand and a drop in chip prices.
Imports fell 14 percent on-year to $54.34 billion in May, as the country's energy imports went down 20.6 percent on-year, the ministry said. South Korea depends on imports for most of its energy needs.
Accordingly, the country suffered a trade deficit of $2.1 billion last month.
Imports have exceeded exports in South Korea since April last year on high energy prices, and it is the first time since 1997 that the country has logged a trade deficit for 15 months in a row.
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