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May 31, 2020, 9:13 p.m. EDT

South Korean exports plunge again in May

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By Kwanwoo Jun

South Korean exports continued to fall significantly in May due to weak demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Outbound shipments shrank 23.7% from a year earlier to $34.86 billion following the prior month's revised 25.1% contraction, data released by the trade ministry Monday showed. The latest reading compared with the median forecast for a 20.7% drop by seven economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Imports dropped 21.1% to $34.42 billion after a revised 15.8% decline in the previous month, resulting in a trade surplus of $0.44 billion. The median forecast was for a 15.6% decrease in imports and $0.90 billion in trade deficit.

The ministry said suppressed global demand due to the pandemic kept weighing on the country's overall trade despite some signs of recovery in memory-chip exports.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at kwanwoo.jun@wsj.com

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