SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of cosmetics grew at the slowest pace in eight years in 2019 amid a litany of unfavorable external factors, industry data showed Thursday.
Overseas shipments of cosmetics stood at US$6.49 billion last year, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Cosmetic Industry Institute.
The growth rate was the lowest since the 2.9 percent hike in 2011 and down sharply from a near 27 percent surge in 2018.
Driven by the popularity of Korean pop culture, cosmetics exports had been on a roll, with overseas shipments soaring more than 50 percent in 2014 and 2015. Exports surged 44 percent in 2015 before slowing to 18.3 percent in 2017.
Last year's weaker growth was attributed to the Sino-U.S. trade war, increased uncertainty over Britain's separation from the European Union and the slowing global economy.
Exports to Japan soared about 32.7 percent to $401.6 million, with shipments to China climbing 14.3 percent to $3.04 billion.
Exports to Hong Kong plunged 30.1 percent to $919.4 million, and those to the United States sank 2.4 percent to $525.3 million.
Last year's overseas shipments of cosmetics far outperformed South Korea's overall exports, which dropped 10.3 percent on-year to $542.3 billion.
Imports of cosmetics declined 0.5 percent on-year to $1.6 billion last year, the first on-year drop since 2009.
Imports from France were the largest at $463 million, up 2.4 percent from a year earlier, while those from Japan dipped 18.5 percent to $209 million.
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