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S. Korea's trade balance expected to improve after May: finance minister

By Yonhap

Published : May 22, 2023 - 11:34

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Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho (left) attends a parliamentary session held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap) Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho (left) attends a parliamentary session held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's finance minister said Monday the country's trade balance could improve after May and he expects a gradual recovery of tax revenue down the road as well.

"After May, South Korea's trade deficit will decrease, and we can anticipate a completely different performance in the fourth quarter," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho told lawmakers during a parliamentary session.

The remark came after South Korea's exports fell 16.1 percent on-year in the first 20 days of May, with the country's outbound shipments set to lose ground for seven consecutive months.

South Korea's trade deficit for this year reached $29.5 billion, already accounting for more than half of the record-high annual trade deficit of $47.8 billion in 2022.

Choo added the government's tax revenue is also expected to rebound later in 2023 following an economic recovery.

"Although tax revenues have remained sluggish recently, I cautiously predict that they will gradually recover as the economy improves," he said.

South Korea's tax revenue slipped 24 trillion won ($18.1 billion) on-year in the first three months of 2023 following a slump in the real estate sector, the government data showed earlier.

In March alone, the country's tax revenue came to 32.8 trillion won, down 8.3 trillion won from the previous year.

The ministry blamed the decline on the weak housing market coupled with sluggish exports, which in turn led to lower corporate profits. (Yonhap)