SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korea logged trade deficit in the first 20 days of this month amid faltering export, customs office data showed Wednesday.
Trade deficit amounted to 4.1 billion U.S. dollars in the Sept. 1-20 period, turning sour from a surplus of 1.17 billion dollars tallied in the same period of last year, according to the Korea Customs Service.
For the past five months through August, the trade balance stayed in red with deficits of 2.48 billion dollars in April, 1.59 billion dollars in May, 2.5 billion dollars in June, 5.08 billion dollars in July, and 9.49 billion dollars in August.
The continued deficit was attributed to the sluggish export and the growing import, caused by higher energy prices.
Export diminished 8.7 percent over the year to 32.96 billion dollars for the first 20 days of September, while import gained 6.1 percent to 37.06 billion dollars.
The export fall was driven by lower business days that came from the Chuseok holiday, a traditional mid-autumn harvest festival in South Korea.
Export for steel products, mobile devices, auto parts and computers all declined in double figures.
Semiconductor export added 3.4 percent in the 20-day period, and oil products shipment jumped 38.8 percent.
Export to the United States, the European Union (EU) and Vietnam dipped 1.1 percent, 15.3 percent and 13.0 percent respectively.
Import for the country's three major energy sources, including crude oil, natural gas and coal, stood at 10.53 billion dollars in the first 20 days of September, up 38.0 percent from a year earlier.
Import from Saudi Arabia advanced 32.0 percent, but import from Russia tumbled 56.1 percent.