SEOUL: South Korea’s June exports grew at their slowest pace in 19 months as soaring inflation constrains global demand for Korean goods, widening the trade gap and fuelling concerns about both the domestic and world economies.
Shipment data out of Asia’s fourth largest economy is an early indicator of global activity as its manufacturers from chips to cars straddle a wide swathe of the world supply chain.
Exports rose 5.4 per cent from a year earlier to US$57.73 billion, trade ministry data showed on Friday, beating the forecast for 3.8 per cent growth in a Reuters poll but logging the slowest gain since November 2020.
Imports jumped by a much faster 19.4 per cent to US$60.20 billion as soaring energy prices raised the cost of imports, contributing to a trade deficit of US$2.47 billion, the biggest since January this year.
Slowing exports indicate continuing risk from global supply constraints and soaring global inflation as higher costs of everything from oil to fresh food weakens demand.
In June, exports was restrained by temporary factors such as a week-long trucking strike, which held up deliveries to ports.
By region, exports to China declined 0.8 per cent from a year earlier, while exports to the US, the world’s largest economy, jumped 12.2 per cent.