S. Korea's exports set to fall for ninth straight month

SEOUL • South Korea's exports are on course for a ninth straight monthly decline as trade battles and slowing economic growth worldwide raise fears of a global recession.

Exports during the first 20 days of this month fell 13 per cent from a year earlier, data from the Korea Customs Service showed yesterday.

Semiconductor sales plunged 30 per cent, while shipments to China, the biggest buyer of South Korean goods, slid 20 per cent. Total exports fell 12 per cent from a month earlier.

The weak trade data reinforces the downbeat outlook for South Korea's export-dependent economy, which is forecast to expand at the weakest pace in a decade this year.

In addition to the US-China tension, South Korea also faces a trade battle with Japan, which has tightened export controls on certain materials essential to the production of memory chips.

South Korea's 20-day trade data is closely watched as an indicator for global demand, due to its early release and South Korean companies' deep integration into the global supply chain.

South Korea's overall imports fell 2.4 per cent for the first 20 days of this month from a year earlier.

Exports to the US edged down 8.7 per cent, while those to Japan decreased 13 per cent. Imports from the US dropped 3.6 per cent, while those from Japan declined 8.3 per cent.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2019, with the headline 'S. Korea's exports set to fall for ninth straight month'. Print Edition | Subscribe