S.Korea’s trade surplus drops 78.8% in May

South Korea’s trade surplus declined 78.8 per cent year-on-year in May to stand at $440 million due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy said on Monday.

Exports, one of the most important pillars of Asia’s fourth-largest economy were particularly affected and fell 23.7 per cent year-on-year to record $34.8 billion, reports Efe news.

South Korean exports experienced a 1.4 per cent slump in March and a 25.1 per cent drop in April and recorded a trade deficit for the first time in 99 months.

In the month of May imports fell 21.1 per cent to $34.42 billion.

The setback of the trade deficit was in line with the forecast of the majority of the analysts.

The figures of last month are slightly better than those of April due to mild increase in demand – mainly from China – of chips (7.1 percent year-on-year more).

South Korean semiconductors, one of the main products to be produced and exported by the country, were among the most affected products in 2019 due to the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington.

At the same time, good exports, which has seen an increased demand during the pandemic- health products, laptops, processed food – compensated the fall in other sectors such as automobiles and petrochemical products.

By countries and different regions, the South Korean exports to China and the US, the top two trade allies of South Korean fell 2.8 and 29 per cent year-on-year.

South Korean shipments to the European Union and the Southeast Asian countries dropped 30 and 25 per cent respectively.