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South Korea Trade Surplus Up

South Korea Trade Surplus UpSouth Korea Trade Surplus Up

South Korea’s economy posted a trade surplus for 61 months through February due to robust export growth, customs data showed on Wednesday.

Revised figure for the February trade surplus reached $7.1 billion, staying in the black since February 2012, according to the Korea Customs Service, Xinhua reported.

The longest surplus came as exports, which account for about half of the export-driven economy, jumped 20.2% over the year to $43.2 billion. Imports advanced 23.9% to $36.1 billion. Semiconductor exports surged 56.7% in February from a year ago, leading last month’s trade surplus.

Those for automobiles and oil products jumped 12.5% and 782.6% each, but ship exports tumbled 30.9% amid the ongoing restructuring in the shipbuilding industry.

Shipments of telecommunication devices, including smartphones, declined 26.9% amid lack of new models and the negative effect from Samsung Electronics’ discontinuation of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

Exports to China, South Korea’s biggest trading partner, increased 28.8% on the back of demand for chips and oil products. Those to the European Union and Japan logged double-digit expansions, but shipments to the Middle East countries declined 10%.

The bilateral free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States has been a “win-win” arrangement for both countries over the past five years, a Seoul-based trade organization said Wednesday, dismissing a recent claim by the Donald Trump administration that it hurts the American economy, Yonhap reported.

The share of South Korean goods exported to the US stood at 3.19% at the end of 2016, rising 0.62 percentage point from 2.57% in 2011, a year before the bilateral trade pact took effect, according to a latest report by the Institute for International Trade, a research unit of the Korea International Trade Association.

The corresponding figure for US products in the Korean market jumped to 10.64% from 8.5% over the cited period, the largest in 10 years, the KITA report showed.

In 2016, South Korea’s trade surplus with the US came to $23.3 billion, compared with a $11.6 billion surplus in 2011, according to the Seoul government.

 

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