South Korea’s Trade Volume Falls Below $1 Trillion
Michael Song, Jan. 4, 2016, 7:47 a.m.
Korea's trade volume fell below US$1 trillion for the first time in five years last year due to the global economic slump compounded by low oil prices. But imports declined faster than exports, resulting in a record trade surplus of US$90.4 billion.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Friday said trade volume amounted to $964 billion in 2015, down 12.2 percent compared to 2014. Exports amounted to $527.2 billion and imports to $436.8 billion. In 2011, Korea became the ninth country in the world to achieve a total trade volume of $1 trillion, but economists forecast it will fall below in 2016 as well.
According to the ministry, exports and imports are expected to grow around two percent this year to $986 billion in total trade volume. The world's major economies saw exports drop sharply last year, which meant that Korea still ranked higher than France in terms of total exports in sixth place after China, the U.S., Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.
The main culprit behind lackluster exports was declining international oil prices. As oil prices fell around 50 percent, prices of petroleum and petrochemical products plummeted, resulting in exports of related products declining by around $28.9 billion.