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Korea’s exports in August fall 9.9 percent to $39.7 billion 2020-09-01

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on September 1 that Korea’s exports in August decreased 9.9 percent to USD 39.7 billion. Imports fell 16.3 percent to $35.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.1 billion.

The August exports recorded a single-digit decline for the second consecutive month despite fewer working days (down 1.5 days). Daily exports went down only 3.8 percent, showing the smallest decline since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Four out of 15 major export items saw growth. Exports to major markets – the United States, China, and the EU – continued a trend of recovery.

By item, exports of computers spiked 106.6 percent to $1.3 billion. The demand for the solid-state drives (SSDs) expanded to the industries with contact-free technologies such as entertainment and game. Computers experienced growth for 11 straight months.

Home appliances advanced 14.9 percent to $597 million. Despite concerns over shrinking marketing platforms due to cancellations of global home appliances/electronics fairs, a strong demand for contents in the post-corona perspective led to the growth of smart, ultra-large and ultra-high definition trends in the global TV market.

Meanwhile, exports of displays contracted 22.8 percent to $1.6 billion. Although the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel prices for mobile phones went up, the liquid-crystal display (LCD) panel exports went down by a greater amount owing to the global market uncertainty.

Exports of general machinery fell 17.1 percent to $3.3 billion. Exports to China showed a favorable trend due to the expansion of the Chinese government’s large-scale investments in infrastructure and the recovery in the manufacturing industry, but the recent surge in COVID-19 cases presented difficulties in securing new orders.

Exports to all major regions saw decreases.

Korean goods shipped to China dipped 3.0 percent to $10.9 billion because of petrochemicals, general machinery, auto parts, and wireless communication devices.

Shipments to the U.S. slipped 0.4 percent to $5.6 billion due to weak sales of petroleum products, wireless communication devices, steel products, and displays.

Those to ASEAN lost 17.8 percent to $7.0 billion. The contraction was attributable to weak demand for displays, general machinery, petroleum products, and textiles.

Exports to the EU went down 2.5 percent to $3.8 billion. The contraction was mainly attributable to general machinery, petrochemicals, automobiles, and steels.

Those to Japan dropped 20.7 percent to $1.8 billion due to petroleum products, steels, general machinery, and auto parts.

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