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Korea's ICT exports down in May amid coronavirus pandemic

Economy 11:00 June 14, 2020

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products fell for the second straight month in May, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affected demand for displays and mobile phones, data showed Sunday.

Outbound shipments of ICT products contracted 2.6 percent on-year to US$13.93 billion last month, according to the data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The May tally follows a 15.3 percent on-year drop in exports in April and a 1.1 percent gain a month earlier, after ICT outbound shipments backtracked every month from November 2018 through January of this year.

The country imported $8.92 billion worth of ICT products in May for a trade surplus of $5.01 billion.

The ministry said COVID-19 is affecting the industry as a whole.

This file photo shows people looking at ICT products, including semiconductors, at a product display hall operated by Samsung Electronics in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

Exports of display panels, one of the country's key ICT products, nosedived 21.1 percent to $1.28 billion, with those of mobile phones dipping by 21.5 percent to $730 million in the one month period.

In contrast, outbound shipments of semiconductors and computers rose 6.5 percent and 73 percent, respectively. Exports of both memory and system chips rose last month.

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 buyer of South Korean ICT goods, reached $7.27 billion, up 2.1 percent from the previous year, while shipments to the United States surged 17.9 percent to $1.74 billion.

Shipments to Vietnam, another major overseas market, contracted 10.4 percent to $1.71 billion, while those for the European Union (EU) and Japan were down 0.6 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

For the first five months of the year, ICT exports backtracked 3.5 percent from the previous year to $69.9 billion, with imports falling 2.9 percent to $43.75 billion for a surplus of $26.15 billion in the sector.


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