South Korea has recorded a trade surplus of $3.7 billion in September, compared with a deficit of $3.83 billion in the same month of 2022.
The preliminary figure also compares with a consensus of estimates of a $1.75 billion surplus.
September has been the fourth consecutive month of trade surplus, with imports shrinking at a much sharper rate than exports.
South Korea’s total exports dropped 4.4% year-on-year to $54.66 billion in September, compared with market expectations of a 9.1% drop.
It has been the 12th consecutive month of shrinking exports, but the pace has been the softest in the sequence.
In September, shipments dropped for semiconductors (-13.6% YoY), petroleum (-7%) and petrochemicals (-6%), but rose for automobiles (10% YoY), ships (15%), steel products (7%) and display items (4%).
Meanwhile, South Korea’s total imports plummeted 16.5% year-on-year to $50.96 billion in September, compared with market expectations of a 17.6% decrease.
It has been the 7th straight month of contraction in purchases, mostly weighed down by a 36% slump in energy imports.
The South Korean Won was last gaining 0.14% on the day against the US Dollar, with the USD/KRW currency pair trading at 1350.34. The Won has pulled back from a 44-week low of 1359.43 per dollar it registered last Wednesday.
Won traders will now be paying attention to retail sales and industrial production figures for August due out at 23:00 GMT on Monday.