South Korea’s exports moved down 8.2 percent in March from a year earlier, government data showed on April 1, due to falling global prices of chips coupled with the slowing Chinese economy.
Outbound shipments came to $47.1 billion for March, down from the $51.3 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Imports decreased 6.7 percent over the cited period to reach $41.8 billion, the ministry added.
Exports fell on-year for the fourth consecutive month.
“Multiple factors, including external issues such as the trade dispute between the United States and China, the slowing global economy, looming protectionism, along with falling prices of chips led to the result,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said the decline is also due to a high base effect, as Korea’s export figure for March 2018 was the highest for the month.
Under the ministry’s calculation, Korea’s exports tumbled 5.9 percent when excluding chips and 5.5 percent when ignoring China-related factors.
Korea’s trade surplus came to $5.22 billion in March, marking 86 straight months in which the country‘s exports have exceeded imports.
The nation’s exports of chips dropped 16.6 percent on-year in March, trailing a drop in global prices coupled with slower sales of smartphones on low seasonal demand. The falling demand from global data centers was also behind the tumble, the ministry said.
The petrochemical segment backtracked 10.7 percent due to increased supply from the U.S.
The ship segment, on the other hand, posted growth of 5.4 percent on-year in March, making it the only segment to show improvement among the top 10 products.
By region, Korea’s exports to China slipped 15.5 percent, falling for the fifth consecutive month. China accounted for 26.8 percent of Korea’s combined exports in 2018 and was the nation’s top partner.
Shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations moved down 7.6 percent, following the decrease of the purchasing managers’ index in the area.
Korea’s outbound shipments to the European Union also lost ground as European countries revised down their economic growth outlooks.
Exports to the United States improved for the sixth consecutive month on the back of automobile, machinery and petrochemical products.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (email@example.com)