Roundup: S. Korea's trade surplus widens on faster import reduction
SEOUL, Feb 28, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
South Korea's trade surplus widened
in February, keeping a surplus trend for 13 straight months, as
imports reduced faster than exports, a government report showed
Trade surplus was 2.06 billion U.S. dollars in February, up
from 476 million dollars in the prior month, according to the
Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
Exports fell 8.6 percent from a year earlier to 42.33 billion
dollars in February after jumping 10.9 percent in the prior month.
The fall was attributable to less business days stemming from the
Lunar New Year's holiday that fell on February 2013 and January
2012. The holiday effect decreased this February's working days by
Imports declined at a faster pace of 10.6 percent to 40.27
billion dollars last month, helping the trade balance stay in the
black since February 2012. The reading was the lowest since March
Generally, economic data in January and February are distorted
due to the holiday effect. Exports for the first two months of
this year edged up 0.6 percent compared with the same period of
last year. Average daily exports rose 2.5 percent in February
after increasing 1.6 percent in January.
"January-February average exports should edge higher," Park
Hee-chan, an economist at Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul, said in
a report before the data release. "It was due to lackluster demand
in the U.S. following the recent tax increases and the strong won
along with weak yen."
The South Korean currency's appreciation against the dollar
along with the Japanese yen's fall weighed on price
competitiveness of local exporters as South Korean tech and auto
firms, or major export drivers, compete with Japanese rivals in
The Japanese government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
nominated Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda
as new governor of Bank of Japan (BOJ). The yen fell against the
greenback amid speculation that the BOJ nominee may push for more
Among export items, IT products showed upbeat picture.
Shipments of wireless telecommunications devices such as
smartphones increased 10.2 percent, with exports of chips and
liquid crystal display panels growing 0.4 percent and 6.2 percent
Petrochemicals exports rose 7.8 percent, but shipments of
autos, steels and machinery tumbled 15.1 percent, 10.5 percent and
15.1 percent each. Ship exports plunged a whopping 40.3 percent.
Exports to China and the U.S., South Korea's top two trading
partners, fell 1 percent and 11.4 percent each, with the readings
for the European Union (EU), the Latin American countries and
Japan sinking 15.4 percent, 16 percent and 17.5 percent
Despite concerns over the weaker yen and its subsequent export
slump, the country's current export trend looked favorable given
the growth of average daily exports, the ministry said,
forecasting that the exports will increase in tandem with the
expected economic recovery in China and the U.S.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]