MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea's exports fell for an eighth straight month in May in annual terms, but the pace was slower than expected with signs that the worst had passed for chip and China-bound shipments, as per Reuters.
Overseas sales by Asia's fourth-largest economy fell 15.2% year-on-year to USD52.24 billion in May, trade ministry data showed on Thursday, compared with a drop of 14.3% in April and a 16.8% decline tipped in a Reuters survey.
The down streak is the longest run of year-on-year decline since January 2020 and has been mostly caused by weak demand for semiconductors, for which the main customer is China.
Despite one less working day in May, the total value of exported goods was higher than the previous month's USD49.58 billion. Compared with a year earlier, there were 1.5 less working days, setting unfavourable base effects.
"We believe South Korea's exports have already hit the bottom in the second quarter and will swing to growth from the third quarter, albeit not dramatically with the Chinese economy recovering more slowly than previously thought," said economist Chun Kyu-yeon at Hana Securities.
We remind, South Korea's petrochemical exports fell by 26.3% year on year in May on the back of weaker prices, weighing on overall shipments abroad. The country's overall exports fell by 15.2% year on year to $52.2bn in May, while imports were down by 14% to USD54.3bn, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said in a statement. This resulted in a trade deficit of USD2.1bn for May, marking the 15th month in a row that the country has posted a trade deficit but the smallest amount since May 2022.