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Korea’s January exports fall 6.1% to $43.4 billion 2020-02-03
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on February 1 that Korea’s exports in January saw a year-on-year decrease of 6.1 percent to USD 43.4 billion. Imports dropped 5.3 percent to $42.7 billion, resulting in The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on February 1 that Korea’s exports in January saw a year-on-year decrease of 6.1 percent to USD 43.4 billion. Imports dropped 5.3 percent to $42.7 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $620 million.

Korean exports last month were affected by fewer working days due to the Lunar New Year holidays, but maintained a single-digit drop. The average daily exports adjusted for working days variation turned positive for the first time in 14 months. The impacts of Japan’s export regulations or the new coronavirus on Korean exports seem limited.

By item, bio-health products jumped 36.2 percent to $750 million. Despite the global trend for price cuts, Korean bio-health exports increased for the fifth consecutive month as Korean businesses are introducing new biosimilar products and diversifying products in the ASEAN, the U.S., and the EU markets.

Cosmetics went up 0.6 percent to $460 million, marking the seventh consecutive month of exports increase. Face washes, makeup products, and shaving products sold well in ASEAN and Japan.

Ships and computers saw double-digit increases of 59.0 percent to $2.8 billion and 43.7 percent to $910 million, respectively. Ships rebounded after three months of decline due to improved shipments of Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG), and LNG carriers. Computers improved for four consecutive months.

Meanwhile, the value of secondary batteries shipped overseas shrank 13.5 percent to $570 million due to increased overseas production of Korean battery manufacturing firms.

Chip exports slid 3.4 percent to $7.2 billion and turned to single-digit decrease for the first time in 13 months. Robust demand for semiconductors used in servers and mobile phones and the resulting increase in memory chip prices slowed down the fall in exports.

By destination, exports to ASEAN rose 9.9 percent to $9.5 billion due to increasing shipments of petroleum products, ships, and petrochemicals.

Shipments to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) went up 5.1 percent to $1.1 billion due to growing sales of general machinery, displays, computers, and wireless communication devices.

Meanwhile, shipments bound for the Middle East dropped 9.9 percent to $1.3 billion chiefly due to declining shipments of displays, petrochemicals, and auto parts.

Shipments to the EU also declined 16.2 percent to $4.2 billion as exports for automobiles, petrochemicals, steel, and semiconductors decreased.

January imports fell 5.3 percent to $42.7 billion led by the decreases in bituminous coal, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and gasoline passenger vehicles.

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