South Korean exports extended their losing streak to a seventh straight month in July, pointing to little respite in sight for Asia's trade-reliant economies as Chinese demand cools and global commodity prices take a fresh tumble.
Exports fell 3.3 per cent on-year to $46.61 billion (Dh171.2 billion) in July while imports slumped 15.3 per cent to $38.85 billion, generating a trade surplus of $7.76 billion in July, trade ministry data showed. It was slightly better than a median 5 per cent drop forecast in a Reuters survey but still worse than a 2.4 per cent fall in June. Shipments to China and the European Union fell and growth tailed off in exports to the United States.
The trade ministry said in a statement that exports in volume terms rose sharply in July for a second straight month over a year earlier in a rare bright sign, but analysts said the global environment was still getting worse. "China is going through a turbulent period both on the financial markets and in economic growth, and the recent fall in commodities prices will cut demand from commodities-rich countries," said Park Sang-hyun, chief economist at HI Investment & Securities. An official survey in China on Saturday showed growth in its vast manufacturing sector unexpectedly stalled in July as firms' domestic and export orders weakened. China is South Korea's biggest export market, taking around onequarter of its shipments abroad.