Korea Suffers 1st Double-Digit Export Decline in 10 Years

  • By Yoon Hyung-jun

    December 02, 2019 12:50

    Export-dependent Korea's outbound shipments have declined continuously since December 2018.

    The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Sunday that exports in November dropped 14.3 percent compared to the same month last year to US$4.41 billion.

    Korea's cumulative exports from January to November reached $545 billion, down 10.1 percent on-year. This is also the first time since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 that annual exports declined in the double digits.

    Korea's exports shrank in money term, due to a global supply glut of semiconductors, petrochemical and petroleum products, while shipments to the U.S. and China slowed due to the protracted trade war between the two superpowers.


    Korea's exports to China, its biggest market accounting for about a quarter of total exports, have dropped for the last 12 months.

    Shipments to China, the U.S., ASEAN, the EU and Japan, which account for 72.6 percent of Korean exports, have declined for two months. Lackluster exports to ASEAN are due to the weakening competitiveness of Korean products. Semiconductor exports to the region fell 28.4 percent amid increasing competition with rival products from Taiwan, Thailand and Japan, while display exports plummeted 31 percent due to soaring production of cheaper panels in China.

    But the ministry painted a rosier picture, projecting exports to rebound in the first quarter of next year after bottoming out in October. The optimism was based on projections that the U.S.-China trade war will be resolved and semiconductor prices rebound.

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