SEOUL, June 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's economy kept a trade surplus trend for 52 straight months on the back of faster fall in imports than exports, customs office data showed on Wednesday.
Trade surplus came in at 7.0 billion U.S. dollars in May, staying in the black for 52 months since February 2012, according to the Korea Customs Service.
Exports, which account for about half of the economy, declined 6.0 percent from a year earlier to 39.8 billion dollars in May. Imports dwindled 9.0 percent to 32.8 billion dollars, contributing to the continued trade surplus.
The so-called recession-type trade surplus, which comes mainly from faster fall in imports than exports, boosted worries about exports further as the continued surplus put upward pressure on the South Korean currency to the dollar.
Home appliances exports advanced 4.3 percent on solid demand for South Korean TVs in Europe, but shipments of semiconductors and automobiles declined 4.2 percent and 7.3 percent respectively.
Car imports jumped 11.2 percent, but crude oil imports tumbled 38.5 percent amid lower oil prices. Imports from China and the United States increased 0.9 percent and 10.0 percent each, but those from the EU and the Middle East slumped 8.7 percent and 36.1 percent respectively.
For the first five months of this year, exports declined 11.5 percent from a year earlier to 196.5 billion dollars. Imports tumbled 14.6 percent to 158.6 billion dollars in the same period, sending the trade surplus to 37.8 billion dollars.