SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s trade volume is expected to fall below US$1 trillion for the first time in four years in 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, financial sources said Monday.
The Bank of Korea has projected Asia’s fourth-largest economy to post $950 billion in trade for this year, down 9.1 percent from the previous year, according to the sources.
Exports are forecast to decline 8.5 percent on-year to $496 billion, with imports predicted to shrink 9.8 percent to $454 billion.
South Korea’s traded volume surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the third consecutive year in 2019.
Last year, the country’s trade volume just exceeded the milestone despite a double-digit decline in its overseas shipments.
Exports sank 10.3 percent from a year earlier to $542.4 billion last year, with imports falling 6 percent to $503.2 billion.
South Korea’s exports, the backbone of its growth, are feared to decrease further this year as the coronavirus outbreak has dented global trade.
Stung by the pandemic, overseas shipments nose-dived 24.3 percent on-year to $36.9 billion in April, leading to the country’s first trade deficit in 99 months.
Yet the central bank has anticipated South Korea’s annual trade volume to pass the $1 trillion mark again to reach $1.045 trillion next year, backed by the reopening of economies across the globe.