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 email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 31, 2017 20:04 ET (01:04 GMT)