Korea's trade balance also recorded a deficit last month, continuing the deficit for the fifth straight month.

Exports grew only in single digits, while imports were driven by higher imports due to skyrocketing energy prices.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that exports last month were $56.67 billion, up 6.6% from the same month last year, and imports were $66.15 billion, up 28.2%.

As a result, the trade balance recorded a deficit of 9.47 billion dollars.

The trade balance continued to be in deficit for five consecutive months from April, but the deficit for five consecutive months was the first in over 14 years from December 2007 to April 2008.

Exports continued to increase for 22 consecutive months, reaching USD 56.7 billion, which is more than USD 3 billion compared to August of last year, the previous record high in August.

Exports of petroleum products, automobiles, steel, and secondary batteries set record highs in August, but semiconductor exports declined for the first time in 26 months due to weak demand and falling prices.

Imports of energy such as oil and gas recorded an all-time high of $18.5 billion, up $8.9 billion from the same month last year.