SEJONG, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports fell 5.8 percent on-year in the first 20 days of October amid the fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak, customs data showed Wednesday.
The nation’s outbound shipments stood at US$25.2 billion in the Oct. 1-20 period, compared with $26.7 billion a year ago, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Per-day exports, however, rose 5.9 percent on-year in the Oct. 1-20 period, the Korea Customs Service said.
This month, fewer working days from the Chuseok holiday have weighed on exports.
The coronavirus pandemic also has continued to disrupt trade and halt production around the globe, with a rising number of countries fully closing their borders.
Imports also declined 2.8 percent on-year to $25.7 billion in the 20-day period, according to the data.
By segment, exports of memory chips, a key item, rose 12.1 percent, but those of automobiles declined 7.1 percent on-year in the 20-day period.
Semiconductors account for about one-fifth of outbound shipments in South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc.
By country, shipments to China — South Korea’s largest trading partner — fell 4.6 percent on-year, and shipments to the United States declined 2.3 percent.
Last month, South Korea saw exports rebound for the first time in seven months, helped by increased shipments of chips and automobiles as major trade partners gradually resumed their business activities amid the pandemic.
Outbound shipments came to $48 billion last month, up 7.7 percent from $44.6 billion posted a year earlier.
The on-year gain in exports marked the largest increase since October 2018, officials said.