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(LEAD) Exports decline again in Oct. on virus resurgence

All News 09:17 November 01, 2020

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By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's outbound shipments dipped 3.6 percent in October from a year earlier, snapping the previous month's brief rebound, data showed Sunday, due to the resurgence of new coronavirus cases around the globe and fewer working days.

Outbound shipments came to US$44.9 billion last month, compared to $46.6 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports moved down 5.8 percent to $39 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $5.9 billion.

The latest figure roughly falls in line with market expectations. According to a poll by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency, the country's October exports were expected to have decreased 3.12 percent on-year.

(LEAD) Exports decline again in Oct. on virus resurgence - 1

The ministry attributed the decrease to the fewer number of working days in the month.

By segment, South Korea's exports of chips rose on-year for the fourth consecutive month, while those of automobiles also increased for the second straight month.

Outbound shipments of displays also gathered ground for the first time in 26 months, according to the ministry.

Exports of petrochemical and petroleum products, on the other hand, lost ground due to falling global oil prices.

By destinations, exports to China, the top trading partner, decreased 5.7 percent on-year in October.

Shipments to the United States, in contrast, gained 3.3 percent, and those to the European Union also shot up 9.5 percent.

Exports to Japan lost 19.2 percent over the period, the data showed.

The country enjoyed a 4.5 percent rise in its outbound shipments in February, the first on-year rebound in 14 months, before it suffered full-fledged economic fallout from the pandemic.

Exports fell again in March as the number of COVID-19 cases around the globe escalated and the pace of decline further accelerated, plunging 25.5 percent in April and 23.6 percent in May.

Asia's fourth-largest economy had extended its slump in exports to a sixth month in August, as the new coronavirus around the globe continued to strain business activities, before rebounding 7.7 percent in September.

The pace of recovery may be moderate for the trade-driven economy because new waves of coronavirus infections recently gripped the United States and European nations, it added.

colin@yna.co.kr
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