SME exports decline 5.5% in first half of year


SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) — Exports by South Korean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) decreased by more than 5 percent in the first half of 2020 due to a global economic slowdown, data showed Tuesday.

Local SMEs’ overseas shipments totaled $55.8 billion in the January-June period, a 5.5 percent decrease from the same period the previous year, according to the data from the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.

The ministry attributed the decline mainly to weak exports of intermediate goods to China and Vietnam caused by the slowing world economy.

In addition, a drop in shipments of coronavirus test kits as COVID-19 became more widespread around the world also contributed to the decrease.

Exports of autos and cosmetics hit record highs in the first half, while overseas shipments of COVID-19 test kits plummeted 63.7 percent.

Local smaller companies experienced year-on-year drops in exports to China, Vietnam, the United States and Japan in the six-month period.

In contrast, exports to Russia and Mexico hit all-time highs for the first half, with those to Europe and the Middle East increasing 11.4 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

This undated file photo shows shipping containers at a pier under an overcast sky in South Korea's largest port city of Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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