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South Korea exports likely to suffer worst drop since 2009

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | December 9, 2019
South Korea is likely to see its worst annual exports performance this year since the global financial crisis, economic reports showed Sunday, due to the global trade slowdown and a slump in the semiconductor market.
South Korea port with containers
South Korean economy   South Korea port with containers
The value of South Korean goods exports is expected to plunge 10.2 percent on-year in 2019 on a customs clearance basis, according to Bank of Korea, the worst drop since 2009 when the country suffered 13.9 percent decline.

Topics: South Korea exports

Private economic think tanks released similar forecasts. LG Economic Research Institute projected a 9.9 percent on-year decline, while Hyundai Research Institute expected a 9.1 percent on-year fall in exports.

Experts said reduced global trade volume, sparked by the US-China dispute, and a slump in the semiconductor market are dragging down South Korean shipments this year.

The World Trade Organization recently said global merchandise trade volumes are expected to rise by only 1.2 percent in 2019, a sharp cut from its previous forecast of 2.6-percent growth.

World Semiconductor Trade Statistics forecasted a 12.8-percent decline in overall semiconductor sales this year from a year earlier due to lower demand and decline in semiconductor prices.

South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., relies heavily on chip exports. Semiconductors account nearly one-fifth of the country's exports.

BOK estimated a 0.4-percent decline in this year's real merchandise exports, the worst drop since 1.9-percent fall in 2001 when the economy was hit by the so-called dot-com business bubble.