SEJONG, May 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports sank 20.3 percent on year in the first 20 days of May amid the shock from the coronavirus pandemic, customs data showed Thursday.

The nation’s outbound shipments stood at US$20.3 billion in the May 1-20 period, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

The daily average exports during the 20-day period also slipped 20.3 percent on-year.’

The data came amid growing concerns that the coronavirus pandemic is denting exports by Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

The new coronavirus has disrupted trade and halted production around the globe, with a rising number of countries fully shutting their borders.

By segment, exports of memory chips, a key item, rose 13.4 percent, but those of automobiles plunged 58.6 percent over the 20-day period from a year earlier.

By country, shipments to China fell 1.7 percent on-year, while shipments to the United States sank 27.9 percent.

Imports dipped 16.9 percent on year to $23 billion in the May 1-20 period, according to the data.

The nation’s exports tumbled 24.3 percent on-year to $36.9 billion in April. The country also suffered a trade deficit of $950 million in April, snapping its 98 straight months of having more exports than imports.

So far this year, South Korea’s exports fell 9.5 percent on year to $18.72 billion, the data showed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that South Korea’s economy will shrink 1.2 percent this year as the global economy is expected to have its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The world economy is expected to contract 3 percent this year, the IMF said.