South Korea posted a trade surplus for the 39th month in a row in April as imports dropped at a faster pace than exports, customs data carried by Yonhap News Agency showed Friday.
According to the data by the Korea Customs Service (KCS), the country's trade surplus reached US$8.5 billion last month, up marginally from $8.4 billion in March and significantly higher than $4.4 billion a year earlier.
Exports dropped 8 percent on-year to a little over $46.2 billion in April, while imports nosedived 17.8 percent to $37.7 billion, it said. In April 2014, exports hit $50.2 billion with imports topping $45.9 billion.
South Korea's trade account has been in the black since February 2012.
Last month exports of semiconductors rose 6.7 percent on-year, with shipments of wired telecommunication terminal products surging 42.8 percent.
Delivery of ships fell 10.2 percent while shipments of cars and petrochemicals were down 9.2 percent and 42.6 percent, respectively.
The KCS also said overseas demand for locally made auto parts, displays and wireless communication equipment all fell last month.
By country, exports to the Middle East moved up 1.3 percent on-year, but shipments to China, the country's largest trading partner, dropped 5.2 percent. Exports to the United States and the European Union fell 2.7 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.
Imports of computer chips rose 4.9 percent in April from a year earlier, with numbers for information technology products moving up 15.9 percent.
Imports from Taiwan rose 7.1 percent, but those from China were down 3.4 percent. Local demand for products made in the EU, Japan, the U.S. and Australia all backtracked, with figures for Middle East countries plunging 38.5 percent vis-a-vis the year before, mainly due to a drop in crude oil prices.
In the first four months of 2015, the country's cumulative exports reached $179.7 billion, down 4.3 percent from a year earlier, while imports came to $149.5 billion, representing a 16.1 percent drop.
In the January-April period, the country's trade surplus stood at $30.2 billion as of end-April, much larger than $9.2 billion in the black posted for the same period in 2014, according to the data.