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South Korea's exports record biggest drop since 2009

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South Korea's exports, the main driver of the national economy, suffered their sharpest drop in more than six years in January, extending what is now a 13-month losing streak.

South Korea's exports, the main driver of the national economy, suffered their sharpest drop in more than six years in January, extending what is now a 13-month losing streak.

Government data released Monday showed exports down 18.5 per cent from the same month last year at US$36.7 billion - the steepest decline since August 2009.

The report cited a host of factors, such as slowdowns in major economies, including South Korea's biggest trade partner China which accounts for a quarter of the country's exports.

Falling global oil prices also contributed to the dismal figure, hitting petroleum products that are a mainstay export item for Asia's fourth largest economy.

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South Korea's exports declined every single month last year, resulting in the slowest annual economic growth since 2012. Overseas shipments for the entire year were down 8.0 per cent - the first annual contraction for three years. South Korea's economy expanded by 2.6 per cent in 2015, coming in just under the forecast 2.7 per cent.

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