The Korea International Trade Association announced on April 17 that South Korea’s exports to China decreased by 15.7% from a year ago to US$28.54404 billion in the first quarter of this year. The decrement was the largest in seven years since the second quarter of 2009, when the rate of decrease had reached 20.3%.
South Korea’s exports to China fell 21.5% in January this year, 12.9% in February and 12.3% in the following month. In the meantime, South Korea’s imports from China totaled US$20.21406 billion, 9.6% less than a year ago, during the same period with the monthly imports falling 15.4% in January, falling 13.7% in February and edging up by 0.9% in March.
The exports of key items such as semiconductors, flat panel displays, sensors, petroleum products, auto parts and synthetic resins were rather sluggish. Specifically, semiconductor exports declined by 18.4% year on year to US$5.59367 billion while those of flat panel displays and sensors fell 21.9% to US$4.23231 billion. Synthetic resin, auto parts and petroleum product exports decreased 14.5%, 14.8% and 24.2% to US$1.41332 billion, US$1.27787 billion and US$946.88 million, respectively.
“Intermediate goods account for more than 70% of South Korea’s exports to China but China’s demands for the goods are on the decline nowadays,” the association explained, adding, “In addition, China is increasing its domestic production facilities and investment in the industries including semiconductor while cutting back on its imports of related products these days.”