S. Korea exports in July 1-10 down 2.6% amid chip slump

2019.07.11 13:42:02 | 2019.07.11 14:31:18

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South Korean exports slid 2.6 percent in the first 10 days of July on year, with deepening chip woes likely to extend the country`s double-digit losing streak.

Outbound shipments totaled $13.6 billion in the July 1-10 period, down 2.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, the Korea Customs Service reported Thursday. Monthly exports have been on a downward spiral since last December.

The pace of decline slowed from the previous two months when exports tumbled 13.5 percent in June and 9.4 percent in May. But this was because there was one more business day in the July 1-10 period compared with a year ago. When factoring in this factor, average daily exports were down 14.0 percent on year and up 32.3 percent on month.

Exports of ships slipped 16.9 percent and petroleum products 3.0 percent in the first 10 days of July.

Semiconductors, which make up one-fifth of Korea’s total exports, plummeted 25.0 percent, extending their decline since late last year.

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Memory chip prices have tumbled amid softening demand from data centers and smartphone makers. Industry outlook has also turned grimmer in recent weeks following Japan’s decision to curb exports to Korea of key materials used in making semiconductors and displays, in an apparent retaliation move to Korea’s wartime compensation claims.

Meanwhile, shipments of automobiles surged 24.2 percent, mobile communication devices 18.9 percent and home appliances 54.6 percent.

Exports to China, responsible for a quarter of Korea’s total shipments, remained subdued, sinking 13.2 percent on year. Shipments to the European Union and the Middle East also fell 10.5 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively.

In contrast, exports to the United States gained 11.2 percent, Vietnam 14.5 percent and Japan 16.1 percent.

Imports were tallied at $15.5 billion over the same period, up 4.0 percent on year.

Chip imports rose 19.5 percent, automobiles 22.6 percent and machinery 0.3 percent. Shipments of crude oil fell 24.4 percent, with gas down 11.2 percent, and chipmaking equipment 32.5 percent.

Imports from China jumped 16.0 percent, the EU 8.5 percent, the U.S. 19.7 percent and Vietnam 1.3 percent. But they dipped 15.7 percent from the Middle East and 12.7 percent from Singapore. Imports from Japan edged down 1.9 percent.

By Kim Tae-joon and Kim Hyo-jin

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