(ATTN: UPDATES with details in last 4 paras)
SEJONG, April 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports fell 8.7 percent in the first 20 days of April from a year earlier on decreased overseas shipments of semiconductors, customs data showed Monday.
The country's exports stood at US$29.7 billion in the April 1-20 period, compared with $32.5 billion in the same period last year, according to the Korea Customs Service.
The customs office said daily average exports -- which reflect working days -- declined 11.5 percent on-year to $1.8 billion.
By product, exports of semiconductors and car parts fell 24.7 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, while outbound shipments of passenger cars and wireless communication devices rose 4.1 percent and 39.9 percent, respectively.
By destination, South Korea's exports to the United States and Vietnam went up 3.5 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively. But South Korea's shipments to the European Union and Japan dropped 0.3 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.
South Korea imported goods worth $30.7 billion in the 20-day period, down 1.2 percent from a year earlier.
The country's exports dropped for the fourth consecutive month in March due to falling prices of chips along with the slowing Chinese economy.
Outbound shipments sank 8.2 percent in March from a year earlier to $47.1 billion.
In particular, overseas sales of chips dipped 16.6 percent on-year in March. Semiconductors are a key export product in South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival, SK hynix Inc.
Policymakers pin hopes on the country's exports improving in the second half of the year as demand for semiconductors picks up gradually.
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