South Korea’s trade surplus with Asian countries such as China and Southeast Asian countries gained by a large margin last year. In the meantime, Korea’s deficit in trade with the Middle East soared to a record high as combined value of imports from the Middle East skyrocketed upon a rise in international oil prices.
Korea’s trade surplus stood at $26.5 billion last year, slightly down from $29.3 billion in 2010, according to a report of the Bank of Korea (BOK) unveiled Friday.
Notable growth was witnessed in the surplus with Southeast Asian nations last year. Korea’s trade surplus with Southeast Asian countries widened 52.5 percent from the previous year’s $33.75 billion to $51.46 billion. Korea’s shipments to Southeast Asia rose from $95.1 billion in 2010 to $123.1 billion in the following year.
Trade surplus with China also climbed from $53.53 billion to $56.84 billion during the same period on the back of strong exports in petroleum products, machineries, and precision machineries. Korea’s surplus in trade with the US expanded from $6.55 billion in 2010 to $10.78 billion. The growth was attributed to a rise in exports of automobiles and diminished service account deficit, which was induced by improvement in the service balance for intellectual property rights.
However, Korea’s trade balance with the Middle East worsened due largely to an increased value of imports upon a gain in international oil prices. Korea’s trade deficit with the Middle East recorded $82.38 billion, up $36.11 billion from the previous year’s $46.27 billion. Korea’s trade deficit with Japan narrowed $6.83 billion to $25.52 billion thanks to expanded exports to Japan, which was hit by the massive earthquake last year.