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(2nd LD) Korea's exports up 12.4 pct in first 20 days of Feb.

Economy 09:46 February 21, 2020

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SEJONG, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports moved up 12.4 percent in the first 20 days of February, customs data showed Friday, led mostly by chips and auto parts.

The country's outbound shipments reached US$26.3 billion in the Feb. 1-20 period, compared with $23.3 billion a year earlier, according to the Korea Customs Service.

(2nd LD) Korea's exports up 12.4 pct in first 20 days of Feb. - 1

But the average daily exports -- which reflect working days -- fell 9.3 percent on-year in the first 20 days of February, the data showed.

By product, exports of chips soared 15.4 percent, and outbound shipments of auto parts surged 40.6 percent.

Exports of petrochemical goods and ships, on the other hand, decreased 4.1 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

The decrease apparently came as the global spread of the new coronavirus has sapped demand from China, the country's top trading partner.

The suspended operations of China-based production lines also disturbed the supply of key industrial parts and materials for Asia's No. 4 economy.

Outbound shipments to China fell 3.7 percent on-year in the first 20 days of the month. In contrast, exports to the United States soared 24.2 percent over the cited period, with shipments to Vietnam also rising 19.8 percent.

South Korea will announce its monthly exports data on March 1.

Exports earlier fell at a slower-than-expected pace in January but extended their slump to a 14th consecutive month due to there being fewer working days.

South Korea's exports fell 10.3 percent in 2019, hit by a slump in the global chip market, coupled with the trade feud between the U.S. and China.

For the year, the country's outbound shipments are forecast to rebound 3 percent on eased trade tension between the United States and China, the country's top two largest trading partners, and a recovery in chip prices.

The country, however, acknowledged earlier this week that the outbreak of COVID-19 would have an adverse impact on the recovery.

colin@yna.co.kr
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