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March 31, 2020, 9:39 p.m. EDT

South Korea's exports took a hit in March

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By Kwanwoo Jun

South Korea's exports shrank in March as global demand took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Outbound shipments fell 0.2% from a year earlier to $46.91 billion following the prior month's revised 4.3% gain, according to Trade Ministry data on Wednesday.

The median forecast of seven economists polled by The Wall Street Journal was for a 1.8% increase in March exports.

Imports dropped 0.3% from a year earlier to $41.87 billion after a revised 1.5% rise in the previous month. The trade surplus for March was $5.04 billion.

The median forecast was for a 3.3% increase in imports and a $5.30 billion surplus.

Korea's exports of memory chips fell 2.7% from the year before in March.

Shipments overseas of refined oil and petrochemicals dropped 5.9% and 9.0%, respectively, because of soft demand from China, the ministry said.

The country's trade outlook remains tough with the spread of the virus weighing on global growth, it said.

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

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