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Korean exports of materials and parts total $67.5 billion in Q1 2019-04-22

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on April 22 that Korea’s exports of materials and parts in the first quarter of this year totaled USD 67.5 billion, down 9.0 percent from the same period last year.
The country’s imports also saw a year-on-year decrease of 4.3 percent to $41.7 billion. The trade balance stood at a surplus of $25.8 billion in this segment.

These figures are based on 11 different item categories: five for materials (textiles, chemical products, rubber and plastics, non-metallic minerals, primary metals) and six for parts (fabricated metals, general machinery parts, electric equipment parts, electronic parts, precision instrument parts, and transport machinery parts).

By item, exports of transport machinery parts expanded while those of electronic parts and chemical products contracted.

Outbound shipments of transport machinery parts increased 4.9 percent to $6.8 billion because of robust sales of Korean sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and eco-friendly cars in major economies. Increasing demand for parts in overseas factories also contributed to the growth.

Meanwhile, exports of electronic parts decreased 19.8 percent to $25 billion. This is attributable to falling demand for semiconductors used in servers and mobile phones and their declining prices. Fiercer competition in the liquid-crystal display (LCD) market was another factor that dragged down the growth.

Exports of chemical products also went down 9.6 percent to $11.1 billion. Korean companies are rebuilding their inventories ahead of scheduled regular maintenance. Excessive global supply also affected the result.

By region, shipments to the U.S. and Vietnam increased, but those to most destinations, including China and Europe, decreased.

Korean materials and parts exported to the U.S. expanded 8.6 percent to $7.8 billion as demand for electronic parts and transport machinery parts increased.

Shipments to China, on the other hand, slid 19.1 percent to $19.2 billion mainly because of falling semiconductor prices and delayed chip purchases.

Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slipped 1.3 percent to $12.4 billion primarily because of lower semiconductor prices. Meanwhile, exports to Vietnam gained 6.8 percent to $6.7 billion as a result of increased production of smartphones.

Shipments to Europe declined 8.3 percent to $8.5 billion due to falling sales of parts for electronics, computers, and flat displays.

Exports to the Middle East contracted 32.1 percent to $1.8 billion. Shipments of electric equipment parts and chemical products decreased.

For imports, most categories decreased except for rubbers and plastics and non-metallic minerals.

Inbound shipments of electronic parts edged down 1.8 percent to $14.4 billion because of decreased local production of home appliances.

Chemical products shipped to Korea dropped 3.8 percent to $7.4 billion, following falling oil prices.

Imports of primary metals fell 7.2 percent to $5.3 billion mainly due to decreasing prices of basic metals used in automobiles and construction.

Those of general machinery parts also slowed down 8.8 percent to $4.6 billion. A decline was seen in imports of parts for semiconductor manufacturing machines and equipment.

In terms of region, imports from most destinations decreased.

Imports from Japan dropped 11.2 percent to $6.5 billion mostly because of decreased domestic demand for electronic parts and primary metals.

Inbound shipments from Europe moved down 6.8 percent to $5.8 billion largely due to fewer imports of chemical products and primary metals.

Those from the U.S. decreased 8.0 percent to $4.7 billion on lower demand for general machinery parts.

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