Anchor: Amid a protracted economic slowdown from the novel coronavirus pandemic, South Korea's exports shrank nearly 24 percent last month, to post an on-year decline for the third time since March. The auto and petrochemical sectors saw the biggest losses, while the chip industry returned to positive territory.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Monday that South Korea's exports totaled 34-point-nine billion dollars in May, dipping 23-point-seven percent compared to a year earlier.
Reflecting the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, outbound shipments declined for the third consecutive month, after falling one-point-four percent on-year in March and by a whopping 25-point-one percent in April.
Automobiles and petrochemical products were hit hardest by business suspensions due to the pandemic, with exports falling 54-point-one and 69-point-nine percent, respectively.
Exports of mainstay items such as semiconductors were on the rebound as Chinese PC manufacturers resumed operations, rising seven-point-one percent on-year to eight billion dollars.
Sales of biohealth products, including COVID-19 testing kits, surged 59-point-four percent, while those of computers and processed foodstuffs rose 82-point-seven and 26-point-six percent, respectively, as more people stayed home.
By country, exports to South Korea’s biggest trading partner, China, edged down two-point-eight percent suggesting a recovery. However, shipments to the United States and the European Union shrank 29-point-three and 25 percent, respectively.
Amid plunging global oil prices, imports also dropped 21-point-one percent to 34-point-four billion dollars last month, resulting in a trade surplus of 440 million dollars.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.