SEOUL, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's trade surplus reduced to 2 billion U.S. dollars in August as exports kept a minus growth amid global economic slowdown, customs office data showed Sunday.
According to the report by the Korea Customs Service, the country's trade surplus reached 2 billion dollars in August, slightly down from a preliminary figure of 2.04 billion dollars estimated earlier by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The trade balance stayed in the black for seven straight months, but the August surplus was down from a surplus of 2.78 billion dollars in the previous month due to slowing exports amid the global economic slump.
Exports, which account for around half of the South Korean economy, contracted 6.2 percent on-year to 42.97 billion dollars in August. The figure maintained the minus growth for two straight months.
Imports tumbled 9.7 percent on-year to 40.97 billion dollars in August, faster than the export contraction, contributing to the August trade surplus.
By item, outbound shipments of auto parts and machinery grew 1. 0 percent and 3.6 percent each on-year in August, but exports of ships, automobiles, telecommunication devices, consumer electronics and oil products plunged 34.5 percent, 22.9 percent, 10.6 percent, 10.2 percent and 4.8 percent respectively last month.
Exports to the Middle East and the European Union expanded 18.5 percent and 3.2 percent each over the cited period, but shipments to China and the United States, South Korea's two largest trading partners, contracted 4.8 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.
Imports of raw materials and consumer goods decreased 5.1 percent and 8.6 percent each in August due to weak domestic demand, with inbound shipments of capital goods tumbling 19.4 percent last month.
For the first eight months of this year, exports reached 362.8 billion dollars, down 1.5 percent from the same period of last year. Imports fell 0.2 percent to 347.2 billion dollars over the same period, sending the trade surplus to 15.6 billion dollars.