Poor exports to EU hit S Korea’s trade

Poor exports to EU hit S Korea’s trade

SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
Poor exports to EU hit S Korea’s trade

Models pose beside a Hyundai car at a Bangkok motor show on March 27. South Korea’s car exports jumped in March. REUTERS photo

South Korea’s trade surplus fell in March from a year earlier due to a drop in exports to debt-hit Europe and slowing sales to China, the government said yesterday.

The trade surplus was $2.33 billion, compared with $2.48 billion in March 2011.

Exports fell to $47.36 billion, down 1.4 percent year-on-year, while imports also dipped 1.2 percent to $45.03 billion on falling purchases of products including memory chips, it said.

“Sales to the EU have dramatically dropped in the aftermath of its fiscal crisis and sales to China have considerably slowed, limiting our export growth,” the Knowledge Economy Ministry said.

Trade with China cannot make up losses

Exports to the European Union, South Korea’s second-largest trading partner after China, fell 20 percent, while sales to China grew only 0.7 percent in the same period, it said.

In March 2011, exports to China posted year-on-year growth of 9.2 percent.

Overseas sales of South Korea’s flagship mobile devices dropped 32 percent from March 2011, it said.

Exports of ships also tumbled 27.6 percent as demand from major European shipping operators slowed.

Exports of home appliances including TVs also dipped 14.1 percent. “TV exports slowed as flat-panel TV markets in advanced countries are increasingly saturated... Exports to China also fell as China’s domestic firms expand presence,” the ministry said.

However, crisp overseas sales of cars, which jumped 35 percent, helped offset the drop in overall exports, the ministry said.

And the surplus, an increase from $1.52 billion posted in February, was better than expected.

S Korea,