South Korean exports will likely retreat for the fifth straight month in April largely due to subdued demand for its mainstay semiconductor and auto parts as well as falling shipments to major trading partner China.
According to data released by the Korea Customs Service on Monday, the country’s outbound shipments totaled $29.7 billion in the first 20 days of April, down 8.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. Daily exports averaged $1.8 billion during the cited period, also down 11.5 percent, despite a 0.5 more working day compared to a year ago.
Given the current pace, the country would extend losing streak for the fifth month in a row in April. Korea’s exports have been shrinking since December due to the weak demand for its mainstay items such as semiconductor and automobile parts on top of a drop in outbound shipments to China.
Semiconductor shipments sank 24.7 percent on year, auto parts 4.1 percent and vessel delivery 0.7 percent. But exports of wireless communication devices gained 39.9 percent on year, automobiles 4.1 percent, and petroleum products 1.0 percent.
By country, outbound shipments to China fell 12.1 percent on year against a year ago period, the European Union 0.3 percent, Japan 4.8 percent, and the Middle East 34.8 percent. Exports to the Vietnam rose 4.6 percent, the United States 3.5 percent, and Taiwan 1.2 percent.
Experts said the country’s exports have been directly hit by China’s economic slowdown. China is the country’s largest trading partner that accounted for 26.8 percent of its total exports last year.
Over the same period, imports dipped 1.2 percent to $30.7 billion. Inbound shipments of semiconductors rose 13.9 percent, precision instruments 4.2 percent, machinery 3.4 percent, and petroleum 2.8 percent. Those of semiconductor equipment narrowed 44.6 percent and gas 4.6 percent.
Imports from Vietnam increased 17.3 percent, the United States 14.3 percent, and China 9.1 percent while those from Japan decreased 15.2 percent, the European Union 7.4 percent, and the Middle East 4.1 percent.
The country recorded a trade surplus of $25.8 billion for the cited period.
By Moon Jae-yong and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]