SEOUL, April 27 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports are expected to have plunged by a whopping 25 percent in April from a year earlier, a poll showed Monday, as the new coronavirus pandemic has dealt a harsh blow to global trade and corporate activities.

Outbound shipments are estimated at US$36.4 billion this month, according to the poll by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency. The survey was carried out on nine local brokerage houses.

The sharp decrease was also attributable to the falling global oil prices, the poll showed.’

The estimate comes in line with an earlier estimate by the Korea Customs Office, which suggested South Korea’s exports sank 27 percent on year in the first 20 days of April.

South Korea’s outbound shipments of chips, the major export good, is estimated to have fallen 15 percent this month, while those of automobiles moved down 29 percent in the month. Exports of petrochemical goods will have more than halved, the poll added.

With imports estimated at $37.3 billion, South Korea would post its first trade deficit in nearly 100 months if the export figures come in line with the projection.

While South Korea’s exports are poised to provide grim readings for the first half of 2020, experts say the country may make a slow recovery starting next month as major economies are gradually lifting lockdowns and giving the nod to business activities.

The number of COVID-19 infections around the world has reached nearly 3 million, despite signs of a slowdown locally.

South Korea reported fewer than 15 new daily infections of the new coronavirus for the eighth day in a row Sunday.

South Korea’s monthly exports rebounded 4.5 percent in February on-year to end its 14 months of decrease. Exports, however, again shed 0.2 percent in the following month as the pandemic that originated in China started to make its way across the globe.

The country will release its official export data for April on Friday.