S. Korea August exports plunge by most since 2009

SEOUL - South Korea's exports in August suffered their biggest fall in six years, hit by weak global demand and falling prices, the trade ministry said Tuesday.

Exports plunged 14.7 per cent on-year to $39.33 billion (S$55.4 billion), the largest percentage fall since August 2009 when the comparable figure dipped 20.9 per cent on-year.

It also represented the eighth consecutive month of decrease in exports.

South Korea, whose economy relies heavily on trade, saw its exports fall 10.9 per cent on-year in May.

The percentage decrease then somewhat eased in the following two months, with a 1.8 per cent decline in June and 3.3 per cent in July.

Imports in August dived at a greater rate of 18.3 per cent on-year to $34.98 billion, leaving a $4.35 billion trade surplus.

The trade balance has been in the black since February 2012.