Korea’s exports of automobiles in January dropped significantly from a year ago while its domestic sales grew.
Outbound shipments of vehicles jumped 9.9 percent year-on-year to 256,052 units in January, while domestic sales gained 4 percent, according to data released by Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The country’s total production dropped 10.3 percent to 368,243 units.
The ministry said that the drop in exports was attributable partly to worsening global consumer sentiment, due to the US tapering of its quantitative easing.
“Total output dropped due to a cut in the number of working days and shrinking exports, while exports also dropped significantly as key manufacturers reduced their supplies in line with the US tapering,” according to a press release by the ministry.
Domestic sales posted a positive growth year-on-year for the first time in five months, while imported vehicles continued to expand their market share.
January’s domestic sales of locally-produced vehicles gained 2.1 percent from a year ago to 107,150 units, while those of imported vehicles jumped 20.3 percent to 14,849 units.
The ministry said the country’s trade surplus in the automobile sector reached an all-time high of US$63.5 billion in 2013, surpassing the US$44 billion surplus for the whole economy.
Such an increase, however, apparently comes from a rise in the price of locally-produced vehicles. The ministry earlier said the country’s automobile exports last year fell 2.7 percent year-on-year to 3,086,394 cars, while domestic sales of imported vehicles spiked 19.6 percent to 156,497 units.