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South Korea Sept exports fall at mildest pace in 12 months

Published 09/30/2023, 08:26 PM
Updated 10/01/2023, 12:50 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A container ship leaves Pusan Newport Terminal in Busan, South Korea, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korea's exports slowed their fall in September, in contrast to market expectations, marking the mildest decline in a yearlong downturn, a hopeful sign for the global economy from the bellwether industrial economy.

Overseas sales by Asia's fourth-largest economy fell 4.4% from a year earlier to $54.66 billion, trade data showed on Sunday, compared with an 8.3% loss in August and a 9.1% decline tipped in a Reuters survey of economists.

It was the 12th consecutive month of a decline in exports but the narrowest in the streak.

The decline in China-bound shipments eased to 17.6%, the slowest in 11 months, while exports to the United States rose 8.5% and those to the European Union by 6.5%.

Exports of semiconductors fell 13.6%, the slowest in a year. Exports of cars rose 9.5%, machinery gained 9.8%, and ships jumped 15.4%.

Trade Minister Bang Moon-kyu said exports continued to improve and that they were now at the "inflection point" for a transition to growth.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A container ship leaves Pusan Newport Terminal in Busan, South Korea, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

Imports fell 16.5% to $50.96 billion, also milder than the 22.8% drop the previous month and the median 17.6% forecast.

As a result, the country posted a trade surplus of $3.70 billion in September. It was the fourth straight month in surplus and the widest since September 2021.

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