South Korea’s semiconductor shipments significantly lost steam, raising alarm about the impact on the Korean exports and economy.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Sunday, Korea’s chip shipments totaled $10.68 billion in November, gaining 11.6 percent on year in a pace tapered sharply from more than 30 percent as of August.
Semiconductor shipments soared 53.3 percent on year in January, 40.8 percent in February and 44.2 percent in March. The growth pace slipped to below 30 percent in September and to 22.1 percent in October.
Softer chip prices compared to a year-ago levels is the biggest factor behind the slowdown.
The price of 4-gigabyte DDR4 DRAM memory chips averaged $3.35 in November, off 31.6 percent from $4.9 in January, according to the ministry.
A slowdown in chip exports can immediately hit the goods account, given their bulky share in exports. Chip shipments made up 17.1 percent of exports last year, but as of November this year were responsible for 21.1 percent.
Market analysts warn that the growth pace of Korea’s memory chip exports would further slow down to a single digit next year due to the oversupply and falling prices.
Semiconductors have been the sole driver in Korean exports and growth of near 3 percent as most mainstay items struggled under reduced demand and waning competitiveness.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]