South Korea’s exports declined at the fastest pace among the world’s top 10 exporting countries in the first seven months of this year amid escalating trade disputes between the United States and China and its own with Japan, data showed Sunday.
According to the World Trade Organization, Korea’s exports totaled $317.3 billion in the January-July period this year, down 8.94 percent from the same period a year ago, which is the biggest decline among the world’s 10 biggest exporting nations.
Korea was followed by Hong Kong (down 6.74 percent), Germany (down 5.49 percent), Japan (down 5.03 percent), and the United Kingdom (down 4.62 percent).
China became the only country among the top 10 to see its exports, albeit marginally, increase 0.59 percent during the same period despite its trade conflict with the U.S., which saw its exports drop 0.9 percent, data showed.
Data showed that the top 10 exporters shipped a total $5.6 trillion worth of goods in the January-July period, down 2.84 percent from a year ago. It is the first time in three years for their combined exports to fall after a 5.14 percent decline in 2016.
The 10 biggest exporting countries based on last year’s export value are China, the U.S., Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Korea, France, Hong Kong, Italy, and the U.K.
Korea’s exports took the biggest hit from the prolonged trade disputes between the U.S. and China, its two biggest trading partners, that have also slowed the global economic growth.
Data showed that Korea’s exports suffered even more in July after Japan tightened its control on shipments of three high-tech materials essential for the production of Korea’s two mainstay export items chips and displays – fluorinated polyimides, photoresists, and hydrogen fluoride.
In July, Korea’s exports stood at $46.09 billion, down 11.04 percent from the same month a year ago. It was the second-steepest fall after the UK whose exports declined 11.33 percent amid a prolonged political crisis over Brexit. Japan’s exports jumped 1.39 percent in July despite intensifying trade spat with Korea.
By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Eun-joo
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