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(LEAD) Korea's exports down for 12th month amid trade rows, chip prices

Industry 09:14 December 01, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS details throughout, photo)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports slipped 14.3 percent in November from a year earlier to extend their slump to a 12th consecutive month, data showed Sunday, amid the protracted trade row between the United States and China, and an extended slump in chip prices.

Outbound shipments reached US$44.1 billion last month, compared with $51.4 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports fell 13 percent on-year last month to $40.7 billion, the ministry added, decreasing for the seventh consecutive month.

The country's trade surplus came to $3.37 billion in November, marking 94 straight months in which the country's exports have exceeded imports.

But the surplus marks a 27.8 percent fall from a year earlier, the data showed.

South Korea's overall slump in outbound shipments was attributable to the weak global prices of chips and petrochemical products, the ministry said. The ministry also said there were fewer working days in November than a year earlier.

By segment, exports of semiconductors continued to remain weak, nose-diving 30.8 percent, while those of petrochemical products slipped 19 percent. Outbound shipments of ships also plunged a whopping 62.1 percent.

The country's exports to China, the top trading partner, fell 12.2 percent amid the protracted trade row between Washington and Beijing.

For the year, the country is projected to ship goods worth below $600 billion. South Korea's outbound shipments surpassed the milestone for the first time in 2018, hitting $604.9 billion.

Overall exports, however, are presumed to have hit their nadir and may rebound early next year.

The Bank of Korea earlier said exports are likely to begin to rebound next year driven by a recovery in the semiconductor industry.

Earlier this week, the Korea International Trade Association said the outbound shipments will rise 3.3 percent on-year in 2020, marking a sharp turnaround from this year's estimated on-year drop of 10.2 percent.

South Korea's exports rose 5.4 percent on-year in 2018.

(LEAD) Korea's exports down for 12th month amid trade rows, chip prices - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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