South Korea trade surplus shrinks in April

May 1, 2013 at 6:12 AM

SEOUL, May 1 (UPI) -- South Korea's trade surplus in April narrowed to $2.58 billion from $3.36 billion in March with exports affected by a weaker Japanese yen, the government said.

Figures released Wednesday by the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy indicated April exports were up 0.4 percent year-on-year to $46.29 billion. April imports were off 0.5 percent to $43.71 billion to yield a surplus of $2.58 billion.

The ministry said in April, South Korean exports of wireless communications equipment, semiconductors and LCDs remained firm last month but shipments of steel products and automobiles dropped, Yonhap News reported.

In March, South Korea earned $47.49 billion from exports, while March imports fell 2 percent to $44.14 billion.

In the four months of this year, exports totaled $181.8 billion, and imports $173.4 billion, leaving a surplus of $8.4 billion for the period, the ministry said.

The ministry cited the declining yen for the weak growth in South Korean exports. A declining yen makes Japanese goods cheaper in markets where South Korean products compete.

Officials remained concerned the yen's weakening trend was likely to persist for a long time, Yonhap News reported.

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