South Korea Nov exports suffer worst decline in 2-1/2 years By Reuters

Shira Smolko

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A truck drives between shipping containers at a container terminal at Incheon port in Incheon, South Korea, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s exports in November suffered their worst annual drop in 2-1/2 years, hurt by cooling global demand in major markets led by China and a downturn in the semiconductor industry, data showed on Thursday.

Outbound shipments from Asia’s fourth-largest economy slumped 14.0% from a year earlier to $51.91 billion last month, the steepest decline since May 2020 and compared with a 5.7% fall in October and an 11.0% drop tipped in a Reuters survey.

South Korea is the first major exporting economy to report monthly trade data that includes key IT products and provides an early glimpse into the health of global growth and manufacturing.

Shipments to the top market China dropped 25.5% in November for their sixth straight month of declines, while those to the United States and the European Union rose 8.0% and 0.1%, respectively.

Global recession risks and a resurgence in COVID-19 infections in China, a major trading partner, have dragged on South Korea’s exports over recent months. Demand conditions worldwide have weakened as many major economies raise borrowing costs aggressively to fight a surge in inflation.

Imports in November rose 2.7% to $58.93 billion, following a 9.9% increase a month before and compared with a 0.2% gain expected by economists.

Overall, the country posted a monthly trade deficit of $7.01 billion in November, bigger than a $6.70 billion shortfall in the previous month and its eighth consecutive month in the red.

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