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S. Korean car exports dip for five straight months in March

All News 11:00 April 10, 2016

SEJONG, April 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's automobile exports contracted for five months in a row in March due mainly to waning demand from emerging markets amid fast-falling commodity prices, the government said Sunday.

Outbound shipments of vehicles came to 263,197 units last month, down 4.6 percent from 275,999 units tallied a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The March figure narrowed from an 8.1 percent on-year drop in February and an 18.8 percent plunge in January, the fastest decline since October 2010.

But it jumped 37.3 percent on-month from February's 192,276 units.

The total value of overseas shipments also fell 5.7 percent on-year to US$4.03 billion, but it posted a 34.4 percent on-month gain.

For the first quarter, car exports fell 10.8 percent on-year to 654,494 units.

"Falling oil and commodity prices dragged down car demand from emerging markets in the Middle East and Latin America," the ministry said in a release.

On the other hand, total output by five local carmakers led by industry leader Hyundai Motor Co. edged up 0.2 percent on-year in March to 415,175 units from 414,313 on the back of brisk domestic demand.

Domestic sales jumped 15.7 percent on-year to 173,982 units last month, marking positive growth for the second consecutive month. The government's decision to resume an excise tax cut program fueled car sales.

In February, the government announced a plan to resume the tax benefits on cars this year to revive faltering domestic consumption. The program will be retroactive to January and run through June.


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