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October exports in Korea decrease 3.6% to $45.0 billion 2020-11-04

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on November 1 that Korea’s exports in October saw a year-on-year decline of 3.6 percent to USD 45.0 billion. Imports went down 5.8 percent to $39.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $6.0 billion.

The exports in October experienced a slight decrease (down 3.6 percent) due to fewer working days. However, the average daily exports rose 5.6 percent to $2.1 billion, rebounding for the first time in nine months. The average daily exports also recorded the highest amount in 13 months. Seven out of 15 major export items saw growth.

By item, exports of automobiles increased 5.8 percent to $4.0 billion. Due to the resurging COVID-19 cases, exports to Europe went down. However, the upward trend in Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and eco-friendly vehicle prices led to the second consecutive month of growth.

Home appliances expanded 14.7 percent to $707 million. Television sales, which had contracted in the first half of this year, showed significant growth in the third quarter. Refrigerators and washing machines also contributed to the rise in home appliances.

Outbound shipments of bio-health products jumped 47.4 percent to $1.2 billion and recorded 14 consecutive months of increase. The primary reason for the expansion was stronger demand for Korea’s diagnostic kits and newly launched biosimilar products.

Meanwhile, exports of ships fell 22.0 percent to $1.5 billion due to the delay in shipments resulting from the global economic slowdown.

Wireless communication devices also lost 11.6 percent to $1.4 billion. Shipments of parts are expected to improve due to the launch of new smartphones, but the intensifying competition in finished products and a weak demand in phones led to the reduction in exports.

By region, exports to China totaled $11.5 billion, down 5.7 percent. Sales of semiconductors, general machinery, petroleum products, and displays decreased.

Those to ASEAN fell 5.8 percent to $7.6 billion due to declines in semiconductors, computers, general machinery, and wireless communication devices.

Shipments to India dipped 6.1 percent to $1.1 billion as the demand for wireless communication devices, general machinery, auto parts, and petroleum products went down.

Those to Japan dropped 18.6 percent to $1.9 billion because of steels, petroleum products, general machinery, and petrochemical products.

Meanwhile, those to the U.S. moved up 3.3 percent to $6.6 billion thanks to semiconductors and home appliances.

Exports to the EU advanced 9.5 percent to $4.7 billion on the back of semiconductors, wireless communication devices, home appliances, and computers.

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