Korea’s May 1-20 exports -11.7%, 6-mo losing streak widening to double digits

2019.05.21 15:22:07 | 2019.05.21 15:24:05

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The fall in Korean exports steeply deepened in May as losing streak extended to the sixth month due to slowdown in chip demand and Chinese economy.

According to data released by the Korea Customs Service on Tuesday, the country’s exports totaled $25.7 billion in the first 20 days of May, down 11.7 percent from a year-ago period. Daily exports averaged $1.9 billion, also falling 15.0 percent despite 0.5-day working days added from a year ago. The double-digit dip when confirmed would be a sharp deterioration from the 2.0 percent decline in April, when exports fell for the fifth straight month.

Poor chip performance and Chinese demand amid widening trade war with the United States worsened Korean exports.

From May 1 to 20, semiconductor exports shrank 33 percent on year, and exports of petroleum products contracted 5.1 percent. Shipments of automobiles, however, were up 12.6 percent, white goods 28.3 percent, wireless communications devices 5.2 percent, and ships 21.4 percent.

By country, exports to China tumbled 15.9 percent, the U.S. 4.4 percent, the European Union 19.4 percent, and Japan 1.4 percent, while shipments to Vietnam added 6.4 percent, Singapore 8.8 percent, and Canada 13.1 percent.

Imports in the first 20 days were down 0.1 percent to total $27.7 billion, delivering a trade deficit of $1.96 billion for the cited period. Crude imports were down 14.1 percent, equipment 4.9 percent, and petroleum products 10 percent.

Last month, Korea’s exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products also showed the sixth on-year decline on slow demand for semiconductors and falling chip prices. Outbound shipments of ICT products fell 10.6 percent on year to $15.22 billion, largely due to a 13.3 percent drop in chip exports totaling $8.58 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Science and ICT.

By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Ha-yeon

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