INTERNATIONAL BRIEFING

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

SOUTH KOREA

Exports Mark Record Drop in January

South Korean exports tumbled a record 32.8 percent in January as shipments of everything from automobiles to wireless communication equipment fell, a government report said.

The drop in exports to $21.7 billion was the steepest since South Korea began collecting and announcing monthly tallies of exports and imports in 1980, said Nam Kyung-tak, an official at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The decline is dragging on South Korea's economy, which shrank 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter, its first contraction in a decade.

Imports fell 32.1 percent to about $24.7 billion, giving South Korea a trade deficit of about $2.9 billion, a report from the ministry said. South Korea had an annual trade deficit last year for the first time since 1998 amid high oil prices and global financial turmoil, Nam said.

EARNINGS

Brazil's Banco Bradesco said its fourth-quarter profit fell 27 percent to $696 million. Bradesco's profit for all of 2008 was $3.3 billion, up 5 percent from 2007 profit of $3.1 billion.

The bank said in a statement that fourth-quarter adjusted income came in at $782 million because of nonrecurring events that were not described.

Bradesco and other Brazilian banks saw an abrupt decline in lending over the quarter as the global economic crisis hit Latin America's largest economy hard.

Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.


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