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S. Korea's commercial vehicle exports plunge, halving trade surplus

All News 10:15 June 03, 2016

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of commercial vehicles shrank significantly from a year earlier while imports surged to record levels in the first four months of the year, more than halving the country's trade surplus in the sector, industry data showed Friday.

In the January-April period, the country's outbound shipments of commercial vehicles, such as trucks, came to 37,782 units, down 27.3 percent from 51,958 units over the same period last year, according to the data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA).

In terms of total value, shipments plunged 36.8 percent to US$623 million over the cited period.

The cut in exports of commercial vehicles follows a similar slump facing the country's passenger car industry.

Shipments of passenger cars have also dwindled every month since the start of the year, plunging 13.2 percent on-year over the four-month period.

Imports, on the other hand, climbed to a new high.

In the four months ended April 30, South Korea imported 2,757 commercial vehicles, up 63 percent from the same period last year.

Imports in terms of value grew at an even faster clip as imports of large and thus more expensive trucks spiked 75.4 percent on-year to 2,015 units.

In the January-April period, South Korea spent some $250.5 million on commercial vehicle imports, up 70.9 percent from a year earlier, according to KAMA.

The country's trade surplus in commercial vehicles tumbled 55.4 percent on-year to $398.9 million over the cited period.

"Unlike the country's commercial vehicle imports, its exports mostly consist of small trucks and buses, which are far more sensitive and vulnerable to changes in global oil prices and economic conditions in newly emerging markets that are currently undergoing prolonged slumps," a KAMA official said, asking not to be identified.

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