The trade deficit in the first half exceeded $10 billion… largest ever


[앵커]

Halfway through the year, the trade deficit has crossed $10 billion.

As of the first half of the year, this is the largest ever recorded.

The sharp rise in energy imports was decisive despite the good export performance.

This is reporter Jeong Sae-bae.

[리포트]

In the first half of this year, the trade balance recorded a deficit of 10.3 billion dollars, about 13 trillion won in Korean money.

It surpassed the previous record of the largest trade deficit in the first half of the year, $9.1 billion in 1997.

The deficit in the last month (June) alone amounted to $2.47 billion, which is the third consecutive month of losses since April.

It is the first time since the 2008 global economic crisis that the trade balance recorded a deficit for three consecutive months.

Exports were no problem.

Exports of most major industries, such as semiconductors and steel, increased, and as a result, we broke record-high export records every month.

However, income grew much more steeply.

Soaring energy prices are the cause.

Gas and coal prices more than tripled over the same period last year, resulting in nearly doubling of total energy imports.

Only the increased energy imports are four times the trade deficit.

In addition, the amount of imports of raw materials such as steel and non-ferrous metals required for industrial production increased significantly.

Import prices of major agricultural commodities continued to rise, which also had an impact.

The problem is that this energy and commodity inflation will continue into the second half of the year.

In addition, if energy demand in the summer increases, the trade deficit could widen further.

[문동민/산업통상자원부 무역투자실장 : “외부 변수에 따른 에너지 수입 증가가 워낙 큰 영향을 미치고 있기 때문에 적자를 보이고 있는 거고, 이런 것들이 우리 경제에 조금이나마 주름을 줄까 걱정되는 것들이 현실입니다.”]

In addition, although exports are increasing, the growth rate is slowing down, which is also a factor that darkens the outlook for the second half of the year.

This is Saebae Jeong from KBS News.

Video Editing: Wei Kang Hae/Graphic: Sumin Seo

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