South Korea Posts Worst Trade Deficit in History, Slides Toward Recession

South Korea has posted the worst trade deficit in its history, according to data released by the Bank of Korea. The deficit, which amounted to $7.3 billion, is the largest since records began in 1956.

The news comes as the South Korean economy slides towards recession. Exports dropped 8.2 percent in January compared to the same period last year, the biggest decline since June 2016. The drop in exports was driven by a decrease in demand for technology products, such as memory chips, as well as a decline in demand from China.

Meanwhile, factory activity contracted in January, according to the Nikkei South Korea Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index. The index fell to 49.4 in January, down from 50.1 in December. This indicates that factory activity contracted at a slightly milder pace than in the previous month.

The news comes as South Korea is facing economic headwinds from the coronavirus outbreak. The country has reported more than 8,000 cases of the virus and has implemented stringent measures to contain its spread.

The South Korean government is taking steps to address the economic impact of the virus, including tax cuts and increased support for small businesses. It remains to be seen whether these measures will be enough to help the country’s economy recover.