© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A truck drives between shipping containers at a container terminal at Incheon port in Incheon, South Korea, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s exports fell more than expected in June and extended their downturn to a ninth straight month, while the trade balance swung to a surplus for the first time since early last year.

Overseas sales by Asia’s fourth-largest economy fell 6.0% year-on-year to $54.24 billion in June, after a 15.2% drop in May, trade ministry data showed on Saturday.

It was worse than a 3.0% decline tipped in a Reuters survey, but still the second-smallest percentage loss for the ongoing downturn that began in October.

Imports fell 11.7% to $53.11 billion, compared with a loss of 14.0% in the previous month and an 11.0% decline expected by economists.

As a result, the country posted a trade surplus of $1.13 billion in June, after 15 straight months of the export-reliant economy suffering trade deficits.

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