The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 1 that South Korea’s exports totaled US$45.91 billion in May, down 9.4 percent from a year ago. Korea's monthly exports fell for the sixth consecutive month and the rate of decrease rose from 8.3 percent of March and 2 percent of April.
Semiconductor exports fell 30.5 percent on year due to a decline in unit price. For instance, the average prices of 8 Gb DRAM and 127 Gb NAND flash fell 57.3 percent and 24.6 percent on year last month, respectively. Inventory adjustment at global IT companies’ data centers and a stagnant demand for smartphones led to the decline in exports, too.
Last month, South Korea showed a decline in exports of 15 out of its 20 major items. For example, shipments of wireless communications equipment, petrochemical products and steel products fell 32.2 percent, 16.2 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. On the other hand, automobile exports increased 13.6 percent and ship exports jumped 44.5 percent. Likewise, secondary battery, electric vehicle and OLED exports rose 5.2 percent, 58 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.
South Korea’s exports to China, its largest export destination, fell 20.1 percent last month. During the same period, its imports fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier to US$43.64 billion and the country remained in the black for 88 months in a row with a trade surplus of US$2.27 billion.