The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Dec. 1 that South Korea’s exports totaled US$44.1 billion in November this year, down 14.3 percent from a year ago to show a year-on-year decline for the 12th consecutive month.
“External uncertainties such as U.S.-China trade disputes and the global economic recession continued and the unit prices of semiconductor products, petrochemical products and petroleum-based products did not recover to result in the decline in exports,” the ministry explained, adding, “Besides, the delivery of a US$700 million offshore plant was canceled last month.”
Last month, South Korea’s ship exports dropped by 62.1 percent along with the exports of semiconductors (30.8 percent), displays (23.4 percent), secondary batteries (17.7 percent), textiles (12.3 percent), petrochemical products (19 percent) and petroleum-based products (11.9 percent).
Under the circumstances, South Korea is likely to show a negative export growth for the first time in three years this year and its annual exports are likely to be less than US$600 billion for the second consecutive year. In particular, it is likely to post a double-digit decline in annual exports for the first time since 2009. South Korea’s annual exports fell 5.9 percent in 2016 before increasing 15.8 percent and 5.5 percent in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The ministry also said that South Korea’s exports to China, which account for 26.8 percent of its total exports, fell 12.2 percent last month, and yet the rate of decrease was the lowest since April this year.