By Choonsik Yoo
SEOUL, May 21 (Reuters) - South Korean exports so far this month were roughly flat from a year earlier, customs data published on Tuesday showed, suggesting the impact from the yen's dramatic slide has so far been less severe than feared.
Exports by Asia's fourth-largest economy amounted to $27.63 billion for May 1-20, while imports totalled $29.89 billion, according to the data the Korea Customs Service published on its website (http://www.customs.go.kr) showed.
The agency provided percentage changes over the comparable period of 2012 but Reuters calculations showed exports for the May 1-20 period fell 3.8 percent on an annual basis while imports declined by a sharper 9.1 percent.
In terms of the average value per working day, exports so far this month was unchanged from a year earlier whereas imports were 6 percent less than last year, Reuters calculations showed.
South Korea is concerned the yen's sharp fall globally since late last year would give Japanese exporters an upper hand in pricing their products, particularly over South Korean exporters such as Hyundai Motor and POSCO.
The yen fell more than 20 percent against the dollar in just half a year on the back of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bold drive to print new money without limit until the world's third-largest economy pulls out of deflation.
(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Eric Meijer) Keywords: KOREA ECONOMY/EXPORTS
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