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By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) — Figures released Monday by the Korea Customs Service showed that South Korea’s exports dropped 16.5 percent year-on-year during the first 20 days of August, due to sluggish shipments of chips and petroleum products.
The country’s outbound shipments totaled $27.9 billion in the Aug. 1-20 period, compared with $33.3 billion in the same period of the previous year. Imports were down 27.9 percent to $31.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $3.6 billion.
Exports of semiconductors decreased 24.7 percent to $4.72 billion, while shipments of petroleum products fell 41.7 percent to $2.4 billion, and those of steel dropped 20.5 percent to $2.1 billion. On the other hand, exports of automobiles rose 20.2 percent to $2.11 billion.
In terms of destination, exports to China, the top trading partner, were down 27.5 percent to $5.86 billion, while those to the United States decreased 7.2 percent to $4.39 billion, and those to the European Union dropped 7.1 percent to $3.1 billion. Exports to Vietnam decreased 7.7 percent to $2.8 billion.
South Korea’s exports have been falling since October last year due to aggressive monetary tightening by major economies to curb high inflation, an economic slowdown, and other factors. July marked the 10th consecutive month of decline, but the country reported a trade surplus for the second straight month.
As of Sunday, South Korea’s exports this year totaled $385.3 billion, a decrease of 13.2 percent year-on-year. The accumulated trade deficit was $28.4 billion, according to the data.
Shipping containers are stacked high at a port in Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in this file photo taken Aug. 1, 2023. (Yonhap)