South Korea posted a trade deficit for a fourth straight month in July as energy imports surged and exports to China, its largest trade partner, fell.
Overseas shipments grew 9.4% from a year earlier to $60.70 billion following June’s revised 5.2% increase, according to preliminary data from the trade ministry on Monday. That missed market expectations for a 10.0% rise.
Exports of semiconductors, petrochemicals, autos, ships and batteries maintained growth, but shipments to China fell on year, as the world’s second largest economy slowed sharply in the second quarter.
Imports jumped 21.8% on year to $65.37 billion after a 19.4% rise in June amid higher energy prices, resulting in a trade deficit of $4.67 billion in July compared with a revised $2.58 billion deficit in the previous month.
Higher prices of crude oil and natural gas also contributed to the deficit.
The country was headed for its first annual trade deficit in 14 years.