© Reuters. Cranes and shipping containers are seen at Pyeongtaek Port in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, July 9, 2020. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji
By Joori Roh
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s exports grew at the slowest pace in 14 months in April, as the trade deficit deepened as a continued rise in energy and commodity prices pushed up the country’s imports.
Exports in April grew 12.6% from a year earlier to $ 57.69 billion, the Ministry of Commerce data showed on Sunday, reaching the slowest pace since February 2021, missing a forecast of 14.5% growth in a Reuters poll.
The exchange rate was also slower than an increase of 18.2% in March.
A breakdown by commodity showed that exports of semiconductors, the country’s largest currency earner, rose 15.8%, while petrochemicals rose 6.8%. Outbound shipments of oil and steel products increased by 68.8% and 21.1%, respectively.
By destination, exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell by 3.4%, while exports to the US and the EU rose by 26.4% and 7.4% respectively.
Imports, meanwhile, rose 18.6% to $ 60.35 billion, with a total value of $ 14.81 billion of gas and coal imports taking the lead. It brought the trade balance up to a deficit of $ 2.66 billion, after having a deficit of $ 115 million in March.