Asia's economic crisis was expected to lead to an export surge as weakened currencies made goods more competitive. But as Korea is learning, it's not that simple.

Korean exports in July suffered their biggest monthly decline in more than a decade, falling 13.7 percent from the year before. Although the Korean won depreciated substantially late last year, it has begun to recover a bit. More important, the weakness of the Japanese yen has hurt Korean exporters, who compete with Japanese companies in key export sectors like autos.Imports, not surprisingly, fell even faster than exports, leaving Korea with a $23 billion trade surplus, compared with a $10 billion deficit last year.

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