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(2nd LD) Korea's exports up 21.9 pct in first 10 days of March

All News 10:21 March 11, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; UPDATES with additional information, more background in paras 6-13)

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports rose by more than 20 percent from a year earlier in the first 10 days of March, customs data showed Wednesday, but the new coronavirus outbreak may limit the growth of its exports and economy.

The country's outbound shipments came to US$13.3 billion in the March 1-10 period, up 21.9 percent from the same period last year, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

The daily average, however, slipped 2.5 percent on-year to $1.78 billion.

The customs office noted the number of working days over the cited period came to 7.5 this year, compared with 6 last year.

Imports also surged 14.2 percent on-year over the cited period to nearly $13.3 billion.

This undated file photo shows containers carrying export goods in the southeastern city of Busan, South Korea's largest seaport. (Yonhap)

The report comes amid growing concerns that the spread of the new coronavirus here and abroad may undermine South Korea's economic growth, as well as its recovery in exports.

South Korea's exports had dropped for 14 consecutive months until January, largely due to a prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China, and a slump in global chip prices.

South Korea's exports grew 4.5 percent from a year earlier in February.

Many believe the spread of COVID-19 in major economies, including China, may lead to a drop in global demand for South Korean products.

S&P Global Ratings said in a recent report that the virus could cause a $211 billion loss for the Asia-Pacific region alone.

The global credit ratings agency has slashed its growth outlooks for China and South Korea to 4.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, down from its initial estimates of 5.7 percent and 2.1 percent.

South Korea's own central bank has also reduced its growth projection for the local economy to 2.1 percent from 2.3 percent.

In the first 10 days of March, South Korea's exports of petroleum products jumped 30.6 percent on-year, with shipments of automobiles and mobile communication devices surging 11.8 percent and 17.3 percent, respectively.

Exports of ships, on the other hand, tumbled 63.2 percent, while shipments of liquid crystal devices and flat panels dipped 12.9 percent.

By country, shipments to China gained 14.8 percent on-year, while shipments to the U.S. spiked 45.4 percent.


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