The Magazine for Asian Investors
South Korea’s Ministry of Trade for Industry and Energy said today that South Korean exports recorded their slowest growth in 14 months in April, following a decline in exports to China. In addition, rising energy and commodity prices have increased pressure on imports. As a result, the trade deficit will increase.
South Korea’s exports rose 12.6% to $57.69 billion in April, the smallest increase since February 2021 and a smaller increase than in March (18.2%).
Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell 3.4% as the lockdown hit manufacturing and supply chains.
Meanwhile, exports to the United States rose 26.4% and exports to the European Union (EU) rose 7.4%.
When classified by product type, it can be seen that Exports of semiconductors rose 15.8% and exports of petrochemical products rose 6.8% in April, while oil exports jumped 68.8% and steel products rose 21.1%.
South Korea’s imports rose 18.6% year-on-year in April. They were led by imports of crude oil, gas and coal worth $14.81 billion. As a result, South Korea recorded a trade deficit of $2.66 billion in April, up from $115 million in March.
The slowdown in exports comes at a time when South Korea is struggling with high inflation, while South Korea’s central bank raised its key interest rate in April to its highest level since August. It also expressed concern that the economy could grow less than the 3% forecast by the Bank of Korea in February in 2022.