SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s trade terms improved from a year earlier in April, marking the first on-year gain in over two years on low global oil prices that pulled down its import prices at a faster rate than those of exports, central bank data showed Tuesday.
The country’s terms of trade index for products came to 94.9 in the month, up 3 percent from 92.15 posted the same month last year, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The reading marks the first on-year increase in 29 months since December 2017.’
The index measures the amount of imports a country can purchase for each unit of exports, showing how the country’s exports are doing in comparison with those of others.
The on-year increase in the index was largely attributed to a sharp decline in import prices, led by low global oil prices.
“The terms of trade index rose 3 percent from the same month last year in April due to import prices falling at a greater margin than export prices,” the BOK said.
In April, the country’s import prices, on a customs-clearance basis, plunged 14.2 percent on-year, while its export prices fell 11.7 percent.
Despite improved conditions for its exports, South Korea posted its first trade deficit in over eight years in April as the sheer amount of its exports dropped at a faster rate than that of imports.
The country’s overall exports came to US$36.9 billion in April, down 24.3 percent from a year earlier, the government said earlier.
Imports fell 15.9 percent on-year to $37.8 billion, leaving a $950 million trade deficit for Asia’s fourth-largest economy that came after 98 consecutive months of trade surplus.