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[SEOUL] South Korean exports fell for a seventh straight month in July over a year earlier, further clouding the outlook for the struggling economy as demand from China, Europe and other major markets remains weak.
Exports fell 3.3 per cent on-year to US$46.61 billion in July while imports slumped 15.3 per cent to US$38.85 billion, trade ministry data showed on Saturday.
The trade surplus fell to US$7.76 billion in July from a revised US$10.0 billion surplus in June.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 5 drop in exports and a 15 per cent fall in imports.
South Korea is the first major exporting economy to report monthly trade data and home to global suppliers such as Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Samsung Electronics on Thursday offered a downbeat outlook for the second half of the year as smartphone market growth slows and ahead of the expected release of new iPhones from arch rival Apple Inc.
The average export value per working day was US$1.86 billion in July, less than a revised US$1.94 billion in June, Reuters calculations showed.
The government will release more details later on July trade performance, including shipments by destination.
South Korea's economy recorded its weakest expansion in six years in the second quarter, growing just 0.3 per cent.