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(LEAD) Auto exports fall in Q1 amid supply disruptions, Ukraine war

Economy 10:42 April 28, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout; RECASTS headline)

SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of autos declined for the first time in seven quarters in the January-March period amid global supply chain disruptions and Russia's war with Ukraine, customs data showed Thursday.

The country's outbound shipments of cars came to US$10.93 billion in the first quarter, down 0.6 percent from the previous year, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Autos accounted for some 7 percent of South Korea's exports.

It marked the first on-year fall since the second quarter of 2020 when car exports fell 40.6 percent.

The decline was mainly blamed on the continued shortage of auto chips and global supply chain disruptions. Russia's war with Ukraine also dented South Korea's auto exports to Russia, according to the customs office.

This file photo, taken Jan. 27, 2022, shows cars produced by Hyundai Motor Co. waiting to be exported on a dock in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Despite the overall fall in auto exports, shipments of eco-friendly autos, including hybrid models and electric cars, remained solid.

Exports of eco-friendly autos jumped 48.3 percent on-year to $3.6 billion last quarter, the second-highest amount.

By country, auto exports to the United States fell 1.5 percent on-year to $4.6 billion and those to Canada declined 17.2 percent to $789 million. Auto shipments to Russia decreased 37.7 percent to $355 million.

South Korea's imports of autos rose 4.6 percent to $3 billion, the data showed.

Last year, the country's auto exports hit a seven-year high of $42.6 billion due to a rebound in demand from the pandemic and brisk shipments of eco-friendly cars.

The South Korean economy has been on a recovery track on the back of robust exports. But it faces heighten economic uncertainty as high inflation threatens to curb economic growth.

The International Monetary Fund recently lowered its 2022 growth outlook for the South Korean economy to 2.5 percent, while raising its inflation projection to 4 percent.


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