Business & Economy

South Korean exports fall in October amid worsening pandemic

Seoul, Nov 1 (efe-epa).- South Korean exports declined by 3.6 percent year-on-year in October following a rebound in the previous month, due to fewer business days and the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

South Korea’s exports, the mainstay of the country’s GDP, fell to $44.9 billion, according to data published by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Sunday.

Imports decreased by 5.8 percent in the tenth month of 2020 to $39 billion resulting in a trade surplus of $5.9 billion for the Asian country.

The ministry attributed the decline in exports to fewer business days in October.

It also noted that although sectors that had been negatively impacted by the pandemic – including displays, electronics or automobile components – “are slowly recovering,” global trade was likely to face more jitters as a result of the pandemic.

International trade is expected to be affected by uncertainty as infections continue to spread.

The alarming increase in infections in European countries has led to the resumption of travel restrictions and border closures.

Chip exports in October grew 10.2 percent year-on-year and accounted for around 20 percent of all shipments as major companies around the world have expanded their investments in servers, the ministry said.

Automobile exports increased by 5.8 percent and those of computers by 5.3 percent amid a growing number of people working from home while that of home appliances rose by 14.7 percent.

Displays gained ground for the first time in 26 months and grew by 5.2 percent due to demand for mobile phones while bio-health products jumped by 47.4 percent.

On the other hand, exports of petrochemical products fell by 14.2 percent and those of the shipping sector by 22 percent.

Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell 5.7 percent in October, a drop the ministry attributed to an eight-day holiday period in the neighboring country that limited the activity of its factories.

In contrast, South Korean shipments to the United States rose by 3.3 percent thanks to strong sales of chips and electronics.

China and the US account for 40 percent of South Korea’s monthly exports.

Exports to the European Union increased by 9.5 percent due to robust sales of chips and mobile devices, although analysts believe that the surge in COVID-19 cases there will weigh down exports going forward. EFE-EPA

asb-mra/pd/lds

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