South Korea Jan exports plunge, trade deficit at record

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SEOUL, Feb 1 (Reuters) – South Korean exports in January fell for a fourth consecutive month in annual terms, dropping faster than expected despite China’s reopening from long lockdowns as global demand cooled rapidly, data showed on Wednesday.

Exports by Asia’s fourth-largest economy fell 16.6% in January from a year earlier, the trade ministry data showed, worse than an 11.3% decline predicted in a Reuters survey and following a 9.6% drop in December 2022.

It was also the fastest drop in exports since May 2020.

The country’s imports in January fell 2.6% compared with a year earlier, less than a 3.6% drop predicted in the survey and following a 2.5% drop in December 2022. As a result, it posted a trade deficit of $12.69 billion for the month.

It was a record monthly trade deficit for the country.

The government has forecast this year’s exports would fall 4.5% after posting a 6.1% gain in 2022, but the trade ministry has said it would do whatever it can to avert a decline.

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Reporting by Choonsik Yoo and Jihoon Lee. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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