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Korea's ICT exports reach $12.8 billion in February 2023-03-14

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on March 14 that Korea's exports and imports of information and communications technology (ICT) goods in February recorded USD 12.8 billion (down 32.0 percent year-on-year) and $11.0 billion (down 3.6 percent), respectively, and the trade balance stood at a surplus of $1.8 billion.

The exports decline is seen to be caused by slowdowns in the global economy and semiconductor industry.

Semiconductors (down 41.5 percent to $6.1 billion) continued to fall in unit price and shipments as demand for ICT devices worldwide waned and memory unit prices dropped. Memory chips (down 53.9 percent to $2.9 billion) decreased due to DRAM and NAND inventory buildup, and system chips (down 25.5 percent to $2.7 billion) also decreased.

Display exports shrank 42.2 percent to $1.3 billion due to low demand for downstream industries and OLED panels. LCD panel exports declined 43.0 percent to $0.3 billion from unit price falls and production halts.

Mobile phone parts (up 4.8 percent to $0.9 billion) increased in exports for the second consecutive month as major mobile phone plants in China normalized operations, but slow demand for devices led to reduced shipments of finished products (down 36.2 percent to $0.2 billion), resulting in a 5.5 percent dip to $1.0 billion for mobile phones overall.

Computers and peripherals (down 58.6 percent to $0.7 billion) recorded a decline for the 8th consecutive month as consumer sentiment continued to weaken along with the persisting global economic downturn.

Meanwhile, shipments of computers to China (up 23.3 percent to $40 million) and Vietnam (up 71.0 percent to $10 million) rose for the first time in 14 months. Peripherals (down 61.7 percent to $0.6 billion) faltered as diminishing demand for PCs and laptops drove down exports of solid-state drives (SSDs) by 72.0 percent to $0.4 billion.

Communications equipment shipments (up 0.8 percent to $0.2 billion) enjoyed growth owing to the expansion of 5G infrastructure centering around Japan, India and other emerging nations.

By region, most ICT items’ outbound shipments fell, while those of mobile phones, secondary batteries and communications equipment advanced to some destinations.

Shipments to China and Hong Kong (down 39.4 percent to $5.1 billion) dropped as major items like semiconductors, displays, computers and peripherals met sluggish demand, whereas mobile phone exports to China (up 7.5 percent to $0.6 billion) gained.

Shipments to Vietnam (down 31.7 percent to $2.1 billion) decreased from weak demand for downstream industries and sliding unit price.

For the U.S. (down 20.7 percent to $1.7 billion) mobile phones (up 73.5 percent to $0.1 billion) and secondary batteries (up 84.7 percent to $0.4 billion) rose, but those of semiconductors, computers and peripherals dropped.

To the EU (down 23.5 percent to $0.9 billion), shipments of semiconductors, displays and mobile phones decreased.

To Japan (down 4.8 percent to $0.3 billion), shipments of secondary batteries and communications equipment improved, but those of semiconductors and displays fell.