Kim Yeon-joo and Cho Jeehyun
The losing streak in Korean exports is lengthening and worsening, with the fall widening to bigger double-digit number in August on multiple trade woes.
The country’s exports totaled $11.5 billion in the Aug 1-10 period, down 22.1 percent from the same period last year, according to data released by the Korea Customs Service on Monday. Against a month-ago period, exports fell 3.1 percent. The monthly exports have been on a downward spiral since December last year and the monthly fall has widened to double-digit from June.
Daily exports averaged 1.4 billion, shrinking 17.2 percent compared with the same period last year. The working day was 0.5 shorter this year for the cited period.
Semiconductors exports contracted 34.2 percent in first 10 days of August from a year ago period, as the category faced multiple headwinds ? industry downturn, technology hegemony contest between the United States and China, and Tokyo’s export restriction on materials bound for Korea necessary to produce chips and panels. Semiconductors are responsible for one-fifth of the country’s total exports.
Among other mainstay export items, petroleum products and automobiles also shriveled 26.3 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively, over the cited period. Outbound shipment of wireless telecom devices and home appliance were up 41.6 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively, due to release of new products.
Exports to Korea’s major trade partners slowed down compared to a year earlier. Shipments to China plunged 28.3 percent on year, to the U.S. 19.5 percent, and European Union 18.7 percent. Exports to Japan plunged 32.3 percent on year, the steepest of all.
Imports in the first 10 days of August amounted to $14.2 billion, down 13.2 percent from a year ago period, to deliver a trade deficit of $2.6 billion.
Machinery imports contracted 22.9 percent on year, crude oil 17.1 percent, and petroleum products 5.1 percent. Meanwhile, automobile imports grew 27.4 percent and gas 13.3 percent.
Imports from China fell 11.1 percent, the Middle East 19.0 percent and the EU 9.0 percent, while shipments from the U.S. and Canada rose 3.0 percent and 117.8 percent, respectively.
Imports from Japan contracted 18.8 percent compared with the same period last year.