(LEAD) Exports down 20.8 pct during first 10 days of Dec.
(ATTN: UPDATES with details throughout; ADDS photo)
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports slipped 20.8 percent on-year in the first 10 days of December, data showed Monday, due mainly to weak shipments of chips and mobile devices.
The country's outbound shipments stood at US$15.4 billion in the Dec. 1-10 period, compared with $19.4 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Imports also went down 7.3 percent on-year to $20.3 billion during the cited period, resulting in a trade deficit of $4.9 billion.
By sector, outbound shipments of chips, South Korea's key export product, decreased 27.6 percent on-year to reach $2.63 billion.
Those of steel and auto parts also fell 37.1 percent and 23.2 percent over the period to $1 billion and $549 million, respectively. Outbound shipments of mobile devices lost 46.6 percent to reach $473 million.
In contrast, exports of petroleum products moved up 20.1 percent to $1.48 billion, with those of automobiles jumping 42.1 percent to $1.4 billion.
By destination, exports to China, South Korea's largest trading partner, dropped 34.3 percent to $3.38 billion amid its tight COVID-19 restrictions.
Shipments to the United States fell 2 percent over the period to $2.55 billion, and those to the European Union lost 4.3 percent to $2 billion.
Exports to Vietnam, another emerging trade partner, moved down 23.7 percent to $1.49 billion.
South Korea is widely expected to post an annual trade deficit this year for the first time since 2008.
This year's exports have reached $644.3 billion so far, up 6.8 percent on-year. Imports, meanwhile, increased at a wider margin of 20.1 percent to hit $691 billion on high energy costs, resulting in a deficit of $47.4 billion.
Outbound shipments fell 14 percent on-year to $51.91 billion in November, following a 5.7 percent on-year fall the previous month, separate data from the trade ministry showed.
It was the first time since early 2020 that exports fell for the second month in a row. South Korea last reported declining exports for more than two months from March through August 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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