S. Korea's exports to Japan expected to plunge: KOTRA

SEOUL, July 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports to Japan are expected to post a double-digit decline this year, affected by the Japanese currency's weakness and the overall global economic slump, the country's trade promotion agency said Tuesday.

The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, also known as KOTRA, forecast that South Korea's exports to Japan will amount to US$34.4 billion this year, down 11.3 percent from a year earlier.

KOTRA expected the Japan-bound exports will be $17.1 billion and $17.3 billion in the first and second half, respectively.

The decline, if the forecast proves to be right, would mark the first double-digit shrinkage in exports to Japan since 2009 when they plunged 22.9 percent.

The trade promotion agency cited the weak yen as a major factor that would weigh on South Korea's exports to Japan throughout the second half of this year.

The forecast is part of KOTRA's outlooks for exports bound for the world's major markets. Exports to Asia and North America were expected to expand 7.3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, KOTRA expects South Korea's annual exports to be around $560.3 billion this year, up 2.3 percent from last year. Its imports were also projected to inch up 0.1 percent to $520 billion.

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