S.Korea's trade surplus doubles in Aug. on solid exports

2013-09-01 03:58:12 GMT2013-09-01 11:58:12(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's trade surplus almost doubled in August from the previous month due to faster export growth caused by robust demand from the United States and China, a government report showed Sunday.

Trade surplus increased to 4.92 billion U.S. dollars in August from 2.54 billion dollars in July, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The trade balance stayed in the black for the 19th straight month.

Exports, which account for around half of the South Korean economy, increased 7.7 percent from a year earlier to 46.37 billion dollars in August after rising 2.6 percent in July. The country's exports showed a gradual upward trend in recent months after logging a 1 percent fall in June.

Despite the external risks such as possible cutdown of U.S. quantitative easing and currency slump in India and Indonesia, the exports grew at a faster pace thanks to solid demand from top two economies.

Exports to the U.S. and China jumped 17.9 percent and 12.8 percent respectively in August from a year earlier, offsetting weak demand from Europe and Japan, to which exports declined 8.8 percent and 13.2 percent respectively.

Demand from Japan continued to fall this year amid the persistent depreciation of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar, but exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) surged 15.6 percent last month, turning around from a 5.3 percent decline in the previous month.

Economic recovery in the U.S., the major export destination, helped boost South Korea's exports. The world's No.1 economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the second quarter after growing 1.1 percent in the first quarter and 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Robust demand for IT products and automobiles led the export growth. Auto exports jumped 43.9 percent last month due to demand from China and the U.S., to which auto exports soared 363.9 percent and 66.8 percent respectively.

Exports of telecommunication devices surged 25.9 percent on- year in August due to solid sales of newly launched smartphones, including Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S4 and LG Electronics' G2.

Ship exports grew 26.2 percent, and shipments of consumer electronics and semiconductors increased 26 percent and 22.1 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, imports rose 0.8 percent on-year to 41.45 billion dollars in August after expanding 3.2 percent in July.

Imports of raw materials declined 10.7 percent amid lower commodity prices, but inbound shipments of capital and consumer goods rose 7.7 percent and 11.3 percent respectively amid the growth in the domestic economy.

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