[한국방송/박기문기자] The trade balance in September continued to be in surplus for four consecutive months, recording $3.7 billion, the largest surplus in the past two years. The previous largest surplus was $1.8 billion in October 2021.
Exports decreased by 4.4% from the previous year to $54.66 billion, and imports decreased by 16.5% to $50.96 billion.
Exports have declined for the 12th month since they began to decline in October last year, but imports fell further due to a decrease in energy imports, leading to a trade surplus.
In particular, exports of semiconductors, the main export item, recorded the highest performance of $9.9 billion since October last year, reducing the decline in overall exports.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced the export and import trends for September on the 1st.
According to export and import trends, in September, exports recorded the lowest decline rate since October last year when exports turned into a decline, continuing a single-digit decline rate for two consecutive months.
Average daily exports, considering the number of operating days, were also $2.6 billion, the highest performance since October of last year, and close to September of last year ($2.66 billion).
Semiconductor exports, our largest export item, recorded $9.9 billion, the highest performance since October of last year, continuing the trend of export recovery after the low point in the first quarter.
Including automobiles (+10%), which recorded export growth for 15 consecutive months, general machinery (+10%), ships (+15%), steel (+7%), displays (+4%), and home appliances (+8%) ), exports of six major items also increased compared to the previous year.
The decline rate in exports of petroleum products (-7%) and petrochemicals (-6%) also reached single digits, a significant improvement compared to August, which showed a double-digit decline rate.
Monthly export/import trend
Looking at exports by country, exports to China recorded the highest performance of $11 billion this year, recording more than $10 billion for two consecutive months. Accordingly, the trade balance with China (-$100 million) also improved significantly, continuing the trend of improvement for six consecutive months since March of this year.
Exports to the US (+9%) and EU (+7%) continued to increase for two consecutive months, ranking first among all-time September performance based on good export performance of automobiles and general machinery.
Exports to ASEAN, which had been recording a double-digit decline rate this year, improved to single digits (-8%) due to the increase in exports of major items such as general machinery, petrochemicals, and steel. In particular, Vietnam’s exports, which account for 52% of ASEAN exports, improved to a single digit. Cases increased by 3%, continuing positive exports for two consecutive months.
September imports decreased by 16.5% due to a decrease (-36%) in energy imports such as crude oil (-16%), gas (-63%), and coal (-37%). In addition to energy, imports of semiconductors and semiconductor equipment continued to decline.
Export amount and increase/decrease rate by 15 major items in September
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Bang-gyu Bang evaluated, “Our exports are continuing to improve despite still unfavorable external conditions such as the global high interest rate trend, China’s economic slowdown, and supply chain reorganization.”
In particular, he emphasized, “We are at an inflection point where our exports turn positive, including a trade surplus for four consecutive months, the lowest export decline rate since October of last year, the highest semiconductor export performance, and the highest level of exports to China this year.”
For an early transition to export plus, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is directly listening to and resolving the difficulties faced by our exporting companies through the ‘Export Site Visiting Group’, while also launching a public-private joint export expansion plan meeting to develop short-term export expansion projects that are expected to have an immediate export expansion effect. It is scheduled to be announced in early October.
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