South Korea December Exports Up 8.9% at $49.07 Billion

South Korea's shipments overseas expanded at a softer-than-expected pace in December but still remained on solid footing to wrap end the year with steady growth in trade.

Exports increased 8.9% from a year earlier to $49.07 billion in December after the prior month's revised 9.5% gain, according to preliminary data from the trade ministry and the customs office. The latest reading was compared with the median forecast for a 9.8% increase from a survey of five analysts.

Imports rose 13% from a year earlier to $43.29 billion in December following the previous month's revised 14.8% increase. The latest reading was well above the median forecast for a 8.7% gain.

The trade surplus narrowed to $5.78 billion in December from a revised $7.63 billion in November, missing the median forecast for $6.97 billion.

For the whole of 2017, exports rose 15.8% from a year earlier to a record $574 billion.

The country's central bank in November increased interest rates for the first time in more than six years.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 31, 2017 20:04 ET (01:04 GMT)