South Korea’s ICT exports fall for four months

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Seoul, Feb 15 (IANS) South Korea’s exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products, key export items of the export-driven economy, declined for four straight months in January.

The decline boosted worries about overall economic growth, Xinhua quoted a government report as saying on Monday.

The ICT exports tumbled 17.8 percent from a year earlier to $11.86 billion in January, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. It posted the fourth straight month of reduction since October 2015.

The falling pace became faster from 1.6 percent in October to seven percent in November and 14.7 percent in December. It posted a 17.8 percent slide in January.

Global demand for overall ICT products, including smartphones, weakened amid economic slump, resulting in lower product prices.

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Handset exports dipped 7.3 percent from a year earlier to $1.9 billion in January, with chip shipments plunging 13.9 percent to $4.53 billion.

Display panel exports tumbled 30.7 percent to $2.01 billion and those for computer and related gadgets slipped 10.1 percent to $590 million.

Demand for South Korean smartphones reduced as Chinese products gained popularity among global consumers. Overall smartphone market has been declining as well due to saturation of the market.

Chip exports got sluggish due to lower prices of DRAM chips and slowing demand for chips used in phones. The display panel market was faltering on supply glut.

South Korea’s ICT exports to China, the country’s biggest trading partner, tumbled 17.3 percent, with those to the US sliding 2.8 percent.

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Exports to the European Union plunged 20.2 percent and those to the Middle East countries dropped 29.6 percent.

Imports of ICT products dipped 15.1 percent from a year earlier to $6.79 billion in January, sending the trade surplus in the ICT sector to $5.07 billion last month.

The ICT surplus accounted for almost 96 percent of total surplus in all industries at $5.33 billion.

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