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(LEAD) Exports down for 14th straight month on chip slump

All News 09:31 February 01, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; ADDS details throughout, photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports fell 6.1 percent in January from a year earlier, extending the slump to a 14th consecutive month due to fewer working days and still weak demand for chips, data showed Saturday.

Outbound shipments came to US$43.35 billion last month, compared with $46.17 billion posted a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The pace, however, was slower than the median forecast of a 7.5 percent on-year drop.

Imports moved down 5.3 percent on-year in January to $42.7 billion.

The country's trade surplus came to $620 million in January, marking 96 straight months in which the country's exports have exceeded imports.

The Lunar New Year's holiday, which follows the lunar calendar, fell during the Jan. 24-27 period this year, though it was in February in 2019.

(LEAD) Exports down for 14th straight month on chip slump - 1

When measured by working days, exports increased 4.8 percent in January to reach $2 billion a day, marking the first on-year increase in 14 months, according to the ministry.

South Korea's exports of chips fell 3.4 percent, marking the slowest decrease since December 2018.

For all of 2019, outbound shipments of chips, the major export product for Asia's No. 4 economy, sank 25.9 percent on-year.

The latest global outbreak of the novel coronavirus did not have a significant impact on South Korea's overall exports, the ministry said.

The virus has killed more than 250 people in China so far, with the number of those infected also above 10,000. More than 10 cases were also reported in South Korea.

Exports are expected to rise 3 percent this year on eased tension between the world's top two economies and the recovery of the global chip industry.

The country's overall exports moved down 10.3 percent in 2019.

colin@yna.co.kr
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