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Korea logs trade surplus for 60 straight months

Korea logs trade surplus for 60 straight months

SEOUL: Korea posted a trade surplus for the 60th straight month in January at $2.8 billion, the customs agency said Wednesday.

According to the Korea Customs Service (KCS), the country’s exports stood at $40.3 billion, while imports came to $37.5 billion. With the $2.8 billion trade surplus, the country has remained in positive territory since Feb. 2012.

January’s exports and imports each grew 11.2 percent and 19.7 percent from the same month last year. The KCS said this is the first time for exports to chalk up double-digit growth January 2013.

Breaking exports down, semiconductors and petroleum products grew 41.5 percent and 66.3 percent, respectively. The KCS attributed the growth in semiconductors to growing demand for integrated circuits and memory chips in Hong Kong and China. Petroleum products also gained ground in China, Australia and Japan.

In imports, energy products and semiconductor manufacturing devices showed a steep rise, while machinery and cars declined.

However, January’s surplus showed a sharp decrease from $6.77 billion in December because of a drop in exports. Outbound shipments plunged 10.6 percent in January from a month ago while imports slightly declined by 2.1 percent during the same period of time.

A KCS official said January’s slump stemmed from the week-long Lunar New Year holiday and exporters’ tendency to push out inventory in December.