South Korean exports dwindled 3.4 percent from the year-ago period in the first 10 days of March, raising concerns for a tapering or even a snap in the robust double-digit growth streak over the past year amid growing protectionist actions on the trade front.
According to Korea Customs Service on Monday, the country’s outbound shipments amounted to $13.7 billion in the first 10 days of March, down 3.4 percent from the same period last year due to 0.5 fewer working days.
An official said the first 10-day shipment data hinges higher on workdays and predicted the monthly number would end in on-year rise. The average daily export amount grew 3.5 percent on year to $1.95 billion.
Exports that kept up growth for the 16th straight month in February significantly lost steam, gaining just 4.0 percent last month compared with 22.3-percent growth in January and double-digit numbers in the previous months.
During the cited period in March, outbound shipments of semiconductor and wireless communication device jumped 41.4 percent and 19.9 percent, respectively, against a year earlier. Petroleum product export grew 3.4 percent on year. But automobile shipment fell 9.6 percent against a year-ago period and ship delivery down 9.3 percent.
By country, export to the European Union countries surged 26.6 percent on year while shipment to China and the United States grew 4.2 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.
Export to the Middle Eastern region plunged 39.8 percent compared to a year earlier and shipment to Vietnam fell 3.2 percent.
Import contracted 11.2 percent on year to $13.7 billion to deliver a trade surplus of $15 million.
By Baek Sang-kyung and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]