News dalla rete ITA

12 Giugno 2020

Corea del Sud

S. KOREA LOGS 1ST TRADE DEFICIT IN 99 MONTHS ON PANDEMIC

Korea's trade balance shifted to a deficit for the first time in eight years and three months in April, as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic started to take a heavy toll on exports, government data showed Friday.According to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the nation's outbound shipments reached $36.9 billion last month, down 24.3 percent from the same month last year.This was the sharpest year-on-year decline since May 2009, when the country's economy was feeling the impact of the global financial crisis.Imports also fell 15.9 percent year-on-year to stand at $37.9 billion, but this still left the country with a $950 million deficit in its trade balance for the month, the first red ink since January 2012.This casts a cloudy growth outlook for Asia's fourth-largest economy that relies heavily on outbound shipments.The ministry said multiple "whammies" contributed to the deficit, including the global spread of COVID-19 and nosediving oil prices."Demand in exports markets has plunged amid lockdowns and plant shutdowns in the U.S. and Europe, while China's economic recovery continues to be protracted," the ministry said in a statement. "This triggered a decline in exports across the board."Outbound shipments to the U.S. and Europe declined by 13.5 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, largely due to falls in the exports of automobiles and machinery. China-bound exports also plummeted by 17.9 percent.Among sectors, exports of automobiles and auto parts contracted 36.3 percent and 49.6 percent due to setbacks in both production and demand. Shipments of steel and smartphones also declined by 24.1 percent and 43.6 percent."The trade deficit was inevitable because Korea's manufacturing industries operated normally during the onset of the pandemic, while the import of intermediate and capital goods continued," the ministry said.Along with the impact from COVID-19, volatile oil prices also weighed on exports. Shipments of petroleum and petrochemical products dived 56.8 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively.The ministry attributed the contraction to the fewer number of working days in the month compared to a year earlier, along with a high base effect."Korea's exports remained relatively unaffected in March, but the multiple whammies of global shutdowns, lockdowns and faltering oil prices have resulted in a sharp decline in April," Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo said in a statement."The trade deficit came because exports declined more sharply than imports, and this shows that inbound shipments of intermediate goods are continuing for the normal operation of the domestic manufacturing industry," he added.Sluggish global trade caused by the pandemic is expected to drag the Korean economy down further.The International Monetary Fund forecast that global trade will decline 11 percent this year; and based on this, it predicted the Korean economy would contract 1.2 percent."Given that the U.S., Europe and other major export markets halted their economic activities in mid-March, it is difficult to expect that Korea's second quarter exports will contribute to growth as they did in the first quarter," Daishin Securities economist Kong Dong-rak said.In the first quarter, the Korean economy contracted 1.4 percent from last three months of 2019. (ICE SEOUL)


Fonte notizia: Korea Times