In April, South Korea’s exports declined 14.2 percent, year on year, for the seventh consecutive month, their longest slide since the beginning of the COVID War, Reuters reported.
The drop, the sharpest in three months, followed a 13.6-percent fall in March.
April’s figure disappointed analysts, who were prepared for a drop of 13.5 percent. Many economists had expected South Korea’s exports, especially computer chips, to China to climb after the world’s second-largest economy reopened at the end of last year.
Surprisingly, exports to China plummeted 26.5 percent, sinking for the 11th month in a row. Shipments to the U.S. were off by 4.4 percent but grew 9.9 percent to Europe.
Exports of computer chips sank by 41 percent but vehicle exports shot up 40.3 percent.
The ongoing slump is due to a generally weak economy, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement, and particular softness in the chip market.
April’s imports shrank by 13.3 percent after slipping 6.4 percent in March, registering the smallest month for imports since August 2020.
South Korea recorded its 14th straight month of trade deficits, booking $2.62 billion in red ink.
TRENDPOST: Because South Korea’s economy depends on exports, the country serves as a bellwether of global economic health. The prognosis, at least in the short term, is not good.