South Korea posted a trade surplus for 16 straight months due to solid demand for locally-made IT products such as chips and smartphones, customs office data showed Friday.
Trade surplus was 5.92 billion U.S. dollars in May, more than doubling from a surplus of 2.4 billion dollars in the prior month, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS).
Exports, which account for around half of the South Korean economy, increased 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 48.36 billion dollars in May, while imports reduced 4.6 percent to 42.44 billion dollars.
Robust demand for IT products made in local factories led the export growth. Shipments of telecommunication devices, such as smartphones, surged 40.3 percent in May from a year earlier, with those for chips and automobiles rising 17.1 percent and 7.9 percent respectively.
Exports of ships dropped 34.6 percent over the cited period, keeping its downward trend amid the sluggishness in the global shipbuilding industry. Outbound shipment of steel products declined 8.6 percent amid the Japanese currency's depreciation against the dollar.
Exports to Japan and the European Union (EU) fell 11.6 percent and 14 percent each year-on-year in May, while those to the U.S. and China increased 21.6 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively.