Exports Plunge Due to Coronavirus Lockdowns

  • By Ryu Jung

    April 14, 2020 12:26

    Exports have fallen 19 percent so far this month as the impact of the coronavirus epidemic spreads throughout Korea's economy.

    Exports in the first 10 days of this month fell 18.6 percent on-year to US12.2 billion. At this rate, total exports in April may amount to less than $40 billion for the first time since 2010.

    Major markets for Korean goods are reeling from the epidemic. Even exports of semiconductors, which account for the biggest proportion of outbound shipments, are declining, though by a smaller margin of 1.5 percent.

    Moon Byung-ki at the Institute for International Trade said, "Due to an increase in telecommuting, demand for semiconductors for home-office networking and data storage services increased, cushioning the decline somewhat, but demand for chips for mobile devices and other products has declined sharply."

    Cars, which account for 12 percent of Korea's exports, are not immune, falling 7.1 percent, while shipments of automotive parts dropped 31.8 percent.

    Many auto parts makers are temporarily shutting down production lines as Hyundai and affiliate Kia are idling plants overseas.

    Exports of petrochemical products have plummeted 47.7 percent, while shipments of mobile devices dropped 23.1 percent as mobile phone shops across the world have closed.

    Shipments of mobile devices to China fell 10.2 percent, to the U.S. 3.4 percent, to the EU 20.1 percent, to Vietnam 25.1 percent and to Japan seven percent.

    The coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of abating around the world, while a majority of factories have either stopped running or plan to close down temporarily until the end of April. Some businesses are considering extending factory shutdowns, including GM, which decided to keep its plant in Brazil closed until mid-June.

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