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Korea’s November exports fall 14.3% to $44.1 billion 2019-12-02

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 1 that Korea’s exports in November saw a year-on-year decrease of 14.3 percent to USD 44.1 billion. Imports dropped 13.0 percent to $40.7 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $3.4 billion.
Korean exports last month were affected by several factors: ongoing external uncertainties such as the U.S.-China trade dispute and a global economic slowdown; a delayed price recovery of semiconductors, petrochemicals, and petroleum products; the cancelled delivery of offshore plants; and fewer working days.

It is forecast that exports will gradually improve and return to positive growth in the first quarter of next year. Shipments of semiconductors, ships, automobiles, and petroleum products are likely to rise. A possible easing of the U.S.-China conflict and a potential technical rebound would also contribute to exports.

In volume terms, cumulative exports from January to November inched up 0.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

By item, chip exports slid 30.8 percent to $7.4 billion in spite of greater shipment volumes and steadily increasing NAND chip prices. The decrease was mainly attributable to a slower recovery of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chip prices and falling demand in the tech industry.

Exports of ships fell 62.1 percent to $787 million. The delivery of offshore plants was cancelled, and demand for warships and plants slowed down.

The value of secondary batteries shipped overseas shrank 17.7 percent to $570 million as shipments to the EU, the U.S., and Asia decreased.

Exports of computers, on the other hand, jumped 23.5 percent to $946 million thanks to greater sales of solid state drives (SSDs). Demand for laptops and tablets grew in the U.S. during the Thanksgiving season.

Bio-health products climbed up 5.8 percent to $803 million. New biosimilar products have been introduced in the U.S. Korean businesses are diversifying markets for botox products, and the country’s dental implants and dental braces are gaining popularity in China, Russia, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Cosmetics rose 9.9 percent to $601 million as demand in China and ASEAN remained robust. In particular, increases were seen in exports of perfumes, face washes, makeup products, and hair products.

By destination, exports to China dropped 12.2 percent to $11.9 billion chiefly due to declining shipments of petrochemicals, general machinery, displays, and semiconductors.

Shipments to ASEAN dropped 19.5 percent to $7.5 billion. Decreases were experienced in exports of semiconductors, petroleum products, displays, and general machinery.

Meanwhile, shipments bound for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) leaped 31.6 percent to $1.4 billion largely due to growing sales of general machinery, home appliances, computers, and ships.

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