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South Korea Feb Exports Fall for Fifth Month

SEOUL, March 1 (Reuters) - South Korea's exports fell in February for a fifth straight month in annual terms, trade ministry data showed on Wednesday, although at a slower pace than in January due mainly to calendar effects related to national holidays.

Outbound shipments from Asia's fourth-largest economy fell 7.5% to $50.10 billion in February from a year earlier, whereas imports rose 3.6% to $55.40 billion. As a result, the country posted a monthly trade deficit of $5.30 billion.

Exports fell by a slower pace than a 16.6% drop in January mostly because there were two more working days in February this year than in the same month of 2022 due to the different timing of the Lunar New Year holidays. On average per working day, they dropped 15.9%.

In a Reuters survey, exports in February were forecast to be 8.7% less than a year earlier whereas imports were seen growing 4.0% from a year before.

Shipments to China, in their ninth month of decline, slumped 24.2%. Those to the United States and European Union rose 16.2% and 13.2%, respectively.

Semiconductor exports fell 42.5%, those of cars jumped 47.1% and petroleum product shipments rose 12.0%.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol last week convened a meeting of economy ministers and told them to do whatever they could to avert a widely expected decline in 2023 exports.

The government expects exports to fall 4.5% in 2023, following a 6.1% gain in 2022.

Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Choonsik Yoo, Christopher Cushing and Tom Hogue

Source: Reuters

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