Gov’t hopes trade back in black in Feb.

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Gov’t hopes trade back in black in Feb.

Korea will likely post a trade surplus in February after recording its first trade deficit in two years last month, the country’s commerce minister said yesterday.

“For now, the trade balance in February is expected to return to the black,” Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo told a regular press briefing.

Korea’s trade balance swung into the red for the first time in 24 months in January as exports shrank 6.6 percent on-year to $41.54 billion with imports growing 3.6 percent to $43.49 billion.

The ministry attributed the drop in exports to a cut in the number of business days in January, along with what it called a “seasonable factor.”

“There is a tendency for worsening exports every January due to a cut in shipments following large year-end sales in December,” the ministry had said.

The country had posted a trade deficit every January since 2008 except last year, when it posted a surplus of $2.5 billion mostly on a large boost to exports from the shipbuilding industry.

The minister said the country’s exports are expected to “somewhat” grow from a year earlier in February, but that will not mean a complete recovery.

“We are still a distance away from a complete recovery, but believe exports will grow somewhat from the same period last year this month,” he said.

Korea is currently struggling to maintain its trade volume at more than $1 trillion this year, a year after it breached the $1 trillion mark for the first time.


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