South Korea posts record high trade surplus

South Korea posts record high trade surplus
# 01 May 2009 10:28 (UTC +04:00)
Baku - APA-Economics. South Korea’s trade surplus hit a record high for the second straight month in April as imports fell sharply on cheaper costs for oil and as declines in exports eased, the government said Friday.
South Korea had a trade surplus of $6.02 billion in April, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a release. That surpassed the previous high of $4.29 billion in March.
Exports fell 19 percent to $30.7 billion in April from the same month last year, the ministry said. Imports dropped 35.6 percent to $24.7 billion.
South Korean exports have been hit hard by the global economic downturn, slumping since late last year as consumers have slashed spending. The pace of year-on-year decline has largely been moderating, however. Exports fell 34.2 percent in January and 22 percent in March.
In a positive sign, exports rose $2.6 billion in April from March, the figures showed.
Imports have also been declining in line with declining prices for crude oil and other resources. Resource-poor South Korea imports almost all of its oil.
South Korea’s economy narrowly avoided recession in the first quarter — growing 0.1 percent from the previous quarter — as government stimulus efforts offset slumping exports. The economy had contracted 5.1 percent in the final three months of last year.
Still, both the government and central bank predict that the economy will shrink in 2009 for the first time since 1998, when South Korea was in the midst of the Asian financial crisis. Source: AP