SEOUL :South Korea’s exports slowed their fall in September, in contrast to market expectations, marking the mildest decline in a yearlong downturn, a hopeful sign for the global economy from the bellwether industrial economy.
Overseas sales by Asia’s fourth-largest economy fell 4.4 per cent from a year earlier to $54.66 billion, trade data showed on Sunday, compared with an 8.3 per cent loss in August and a 9.1 per cent decline tipped in a Reuters survey of economists.
It was the 12th consecutive month of a decline in exports but the narrowest in the streak.
The decline in China-bound shipments eased to 17.6 per cent, the slowest in 11 months, while exports to the United States rose 8.5 per cent and those to the European Union by 6.5 per cent.
Exports of semiconductors fell 13.6 per cent, the slowest in a year. Exports of cars rose 9.5 per cent, machinery gained 9.8 per cent, and ships jumped 15.4 per cent.
Trade Minister Bang Moon-kyu said exports continued to improve and that they were now at the “inflection point” for a transition to growth.
Imports fell 16.5 per cent to $50.96 billion, also milder than the 22.8 per cent drop the previous month and the median 17.6 per cent forecast.
As a result, the country posted a trade surplus of $3.70 billion in September. It was the fourth straight month in surplus and the widest since September 2021.