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South Korea's April 1-20 exports collapse as pandemic paralyses production, demand

South Korea's April 1-20 exports collapse as pandemic paralyses production, demand

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean exports plunged nearly 27% in the first 20 days of April as the coronavirus health crisis paralysed global manufacturing activity and crushed consumer demand.

The worst may be yet to come with many of the country’s top trading partners still in lockdowns to contain the virus’ spread. Monthly trade data from Asia’s fourth-largest economy is considered a bellwether for world trade as it is the first to be released among major exporting nations.

Shipments fell 26.9% from a year earlier, sharply reversing 9.3% growth in the March 1-20 period, the Korea Customs Service data showed on Tuesday.

Imports sank 18.6%, compared with a 4.0% rise in the previous month.

“Today’s data come as the global economy is in a bad shape, while shutdowns in car component factories abroad and a price plunge in petrochemical products have had a negative impact,” a customs agency official told Reuters.

A breakdown of the trade data showed overseas sales of semiconductors, the nation’s top-selling item, tumbled 14.9%, while those of petrochemical products, car components and wireless devices plummeted 53.5%, 49.8% and 30.7%, respectively.

By destination, shipments to the biggest trading partner China fell 17.0%, even as factories there resumed operations, while those to the United States and the European Union slumped 17.5% and 32.6%, respectively.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-economy-trade/south-koreas-april-1-20-exports-collapse-as-pandemic-paralyses-production-demand-idUSKBN2230OA




 
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