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Korea's May exports tipped to dip 22.5% on pandemic: poll

(Reuters-Yonhap)
(Reuters-Yonhap)

South Korea's exports are expected to dip nearly 23 percent in May from a year earlier and post a trade deficit for the second consecutive month, a poll showed Wednesday, as the new coronavirus continued to disrupt global supply chains.

The country's outbound shipments are estimated at $35.4 billion this month, falling sharply from $45.9 billion posted a year earlier, according to the poll by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency. The survey was carried out on eight local brokerage houses.

South Korea suffered its first monthly trade deficit since 2012 in April, snapping 98 straight months of having more exports than imports. Last month, exports fell 24 percent on-year.

Customs data showed that the country's outbound shipments have already fallen 20.3 percent on-year in the first 20 days of May.

In 2019, South Korea's annual exports fell by more than 10 percent due to growing protectionism in the face of the Sino-American trade row, coupled with the falling prices of chips.

Outbound shipments of chips, a key item for exports, are expected to rise 13.4 percent on-year in May.

The growth, however, is expected to be offset by the sharp decrease in sales of cars and petrochemical goods, the data showed.

Exports of cars are likely to fall 58.6 percent this month over the period, with those of petrochemical products decreasing 68.6 percent, due mainly to weak demand and falling global oil prices.

South Korea has brought the COVID-19 pandemic mostly under control, at least compared to other key trade partners. A full-fledged recovery, however, depends on when the major economies fully normalize their business activities, which may not come until a vaccine is made, experts said.

The country will release its official exports data for May on Monday. (Yonhap)
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