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Korea's ICT exports down in April amid coronavirus pandemic

Consumer Electronics 11:00 May 14, 2020

SEOUL, May 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products fell in April as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic hurt demand for semiconductors, displays and mobile phones, data showed Thursday.

Outbound shipments of ICT products dropped 15.3 percent on-year to US$12.88 billion last month, according to the data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The country imported $8.87 billion worth of ICT products in the one-month period for a trade surplus of $4.01 billion.

The April tally follows an 8.2 percent on-year increase in exports in February and a 1.1 percent gain the following month, after ICT outbound shipments had backtracked every month since November 2018.

The ministry said that fewer working days last month compared with the previous year also contributed to the slump, the ministry said.

Exports of semiconductors, one of the country's key items, fell 15.1 percent to $7.26 billion, with outbound shipments of both memory and system chips contracting by double digits vis-a-vis the year before.

This file photo shows image sensors and semiconductors on display at Samsung Electronics PR hall in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

Exports of displays fell 28.1 percent to $1.24 billion, with overseas demand for mobile phones plunging 37.2 percent to $650 million last month.

The latest tally, however, showed exports of computers and peripheral devices, including solid-state drives, surging 85.2 percent on-year to $1.08 billion.

South Korea is home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top memory chip and smartphone maker. Other South Korean tech giants include chip giant SK hynix Inc. and LG Electronics, a leader in home appliances and computers.

Exports to China, the largest overseas market for South Korean ICT exports, reached $6.61 billion, down 16.5 percent from the previous year, with numbers for Vietnam, contracting to $1.43 billion. The export figures for the United States and the European Union both moved up to $1.7 billion and $870 million, respectively. Shipments to Japan reached $320 million, which is an increase from a year earlier, the data showed.

For the first four months of 2020, ICT exports backtracked 3.7 percent from the previous year to $55.98 billion, with imports falling 1.5 percent to $34.83 billion for a surplus of $21.15 billion in the sector.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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