South Korea’s exports fell 8.7 per cent in the first 20 days of September from the same period a year earlier, hit by holiday effects and the slowing global economy.

But the country’s imports for the same 20-day period increased 6.1 per cent, resulting in a trade deficit of $4.1bn, according to the Korea Customs Office.

The poor performance was mainly due to fewer working days this month because of the Chuseok holidays on September 9-12. Average daily shipments still rose 1.8 per cent despite cooling global demand for technology products.

Aggressive tightening by major central banks, China’s economic slowdown due to Covid lockdowns and higher energy prices amid Russia’s war on Ukraine are taking a toll on the export-driven South Korean economy.

The country reported a record trade deficit of $9.47bn in August due to higher energy import costs. The mounting deficit is piling pressure on the Korean won, which has weakened about 17 per cent against the dollar so far this year to trade at the lowest level in more than 13 years.

Shipments of technology products, which account for a third of South Korea’s exports, declined 4.6 per cent last month due to falling global demand for chips, smartphones and computers.

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