South Korea's exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products fell for 13 consecutive months in November. Exports of key ICT products including semiconductors, display panels and mobile phones have been sluggish.
Korea exported US$14.31 billion worth of ICT products and imported US$9.09 billion in November, recording a trade surplus of US$5.22 billion, according to a report released by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. In terms of ICT exports in November of each year, this year’s figure was the lowest since November 2011 when ICT exports totaled US$12.94 billion.
Although Korea maintains a surplus in ICT trade, its ICT exports continued to decline for 13 straight months since November last year. ICT exports tumbled 21.8 percent in November from the same month last year.
By item, exports of three key items -- semiconductors, display panels and mobile phones – all decreased. Exports of semiconductors plunged 30.7 percent year-on-year to US$7.48 billion due to falling memory chip prices and slowing demand for system semiconductors.
Display panel exports also tumbled 25.0 percent to US$1.71 billion due to weaker demand for organic light-emitting diode (OELD) panels and lower prices for liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.
Exports of mobile phones dropped 0.9 percent year-on-year in November to US$1.02 billion due to sluggish exports of finished products. However, exports of mobile phone parts increased by 15.9 percent to US$0.68 billion.
By nation, ICT exports to China (including Hong Kong), the largest importer of Korea’s ICT products, declined by 21.0 percent. Exports of semiconductors and display panels fell by 27.2 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, but mobile phone export rose by 17.3 percent. China accounts for 49.9 percent of Korea’s ICT exports.
Exports to Vietnam also dropped 22.2 percent year-on-year in November, with semiconductors and display panels posting a drop of 23.6 percent and 35.3 percent, respectively.
Exports to the United States and the European Union (EU) also fell by 22.5 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively, but exports to Japan inched up 0.2 percent in November from the same month last year.
ICT exports by small and medium-sized companies and mid-sized companies shrank 5.9 percent to US$3.52 billion. Exports of semiconductors (-6.3 percent) and computers and peripherals (-13.6 percent) declined, but electrical equipment including secondary batteries posted an increase of 10.6 percent to hit US$0.31 billion.