South Korea's Exports Grow for Ninth Straight Month

South Korean exports expanded for a ninth straight month in July on growing overseas demand for computer data storage devices, memory chips and other goods, as the global economy gains strength.

Exports in July rose 19.5% from a year earlier to $48.85 billion after the prior month's revised 13.6% gain, according to preliminary data from the trade ministry and the customs office released Tuesday. The latest reading beat the median forecast of a 15% increase from a survey of five analysts conducted by The Wall Street Journal.

Imports in July increased 14.5% from a year earlier to $38.20 billion following the previous month's revised 19.8% increase. The latest reading was below the median forecast for a 16.2% rise.

The trade surplus narrowed to $10.65 billion in July from a revised $10.77 billion in June, beating the median forecast for a $8.74 billion surplus.

Exports, which account for about half of South Korea's gross domestic product, have been increasing so far this year after contracting in the last two years.

South Korea's exports should continue to grow in the second half of this year unless sliding oil prices and global protectionism seriously undermine demand overseas, trade officials say.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2017 20:27 ET (00:27 GMT)