seoul - Agence France-Presse
Containers are backed up at a quay in South Korea’s port city of Busan. EPA Photo
South Korea reported yesterday its biggest trade surplus in 21 months as rising exports to the Middle East and Southeast Asia offset falling demand from the United States and Europe. Exports in June rose 1.3 percent from a year ago to reach $47.4 billion, after shrinking for three straight months. Imports fell by 5.4 percent to $42.4 billion, the Knowledge Economy Ministry said in a preliminary tally.
That resulted in a trade surplus of $4.96 billion in June -- the biggest since $6.34 billion posted in October 2010, the ministry said.
Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected exports to grow one percent and a trade surplus of $3 billion in June. Increased sales of cars, machinery and semiconductors as well as solid demand in emerging economies in Latin America
and Asia helped offset shrinking sales in advanced markets particularly debt-hit Europe, said the ministry. Asia’s fourth-largest economy saw exports to the Middle East expand about 14 percent in June from a year ago while sales to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations rose by a similar pace.