SEOUL: South Korean exports for the first 20 days of this month rose 7 percent from a year earlier while imports grew a faster 10 percent, generating a trade deficit, customs agency data showed on Saturday.

Exports totalled $30.47 billion for the April 1-20 period and imports amounted to $31.89 billion, producing a deficit of $1.42 billion, according to data the Korea Customs.

The agency did not provide figures for the comparable 20-day period in April 2011, but Thomson Reuters data showed exports and imports were up 7 percent and 10 percent higher, respectively, than in 2011.

The figures show exports by Asia's fourth-largest economy were improving from March, when exports fell 1.4 percent over a year earlier. But the pace of annual increase remained far below the double-digit rates seen early last year.

China, the European Union and the United States are the three biggest markets for South Korean exports, together taking in more than 40 percent of total shipments.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

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