South Korea’s export growth slowed sharply in June, partly due to a shorter work month but also as a result of softer global demand, as the nation ran a trade deficit for a third consecutive month.
Overseas shipments grew 5.4% from a year earlier to $57.73 billion following May’s 21.3% increase, according to preliminary data from the trade ministry on Friday. That beat market expectations for a 1.2% rise.
Exports of vehicles, auto parts and machinery declined, while those of semiconductors, petrochemicals and steel goods maintained growth. Shipments to China, the country’s largest trade partner, fell on year in June, as did exports to Commonwealth of Independent States.
In addition to fewer working days in June affecting the export figure, a strike by cargo-truck drivers temporarily disrupted shipments for the month.
Imports gained 19.4% to $60.20 billion after a 32.0% rise in May on surging energy prices, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.47 billion in June compared with a $1.71 deficit the previous month.
The country logged a cumulative trade deficit of $10.3 billion during the first half of 2022, staying on course for its first annual deficit since the financial crisis in 2008.
The deficit is widening due to higher prices of oil, grain and other raw materials imported to the country amid the war in Ukraine and global supply-chain disruptions.