South Korea exports fall for 8th straight month as chip slump continues
SEOUL – South Korea’s exports fell for an eighth straight month in May in annual terms, although less than expected, amid persistent weakness in demand for semiconductors.
Overseas sales by Asia’s fourth-largest economy fell 15.2 percent year-on-year to $52.24 billion in May, the trade ministry data showed, compared with a drop of 14.3 percent in April and a 16.8- percent decline tipped in a Reuters survey.
The down streak is the longest run of year-on-year losses since January 2020.
Despite one less working day, the total value of exported goods was higher than the previous month’s $49.58 billion, according to the ministry.
Exports of semiconductors, South Korea’s biggest selling item, dropped 36.2 percent, extending losses to a 10th consecutive month but an improvement versus April’s 41 percent drop. Shipments of petroleum products fell 33.2 percent, but cars jumped 49.4 percent.
Imports fell 14 percent to $54.34 billion in May, faster than the 13.3 percent fall seen in April and the fastest since August 2020. Economists had expected a 14.5- percent decline in the survey.
The country posted a trade deficit of $2.10 billion in May. It was the 15th month in a row that the export-reliant economy suffered a trade deficit but the smallest amount since May 2022.
Separate data showed South Korean manufacturers reported the smallest decline in export orders in their 15-month falling streak, suggesting a possible recovery in overseas demand going forward.