South Korea’s exports of information technology products shrank from a year earlier for the second straight month in August largely on lower global prices, the government said Wednesday.
The country exported $13.06 billion worth of IT products last month, down 2.4 percent from $13.39 billion in the same month last year, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The country’s trade surplus in the IT sector dwindled from slightly over $7 billion last year to $5.97 billion as its IT imports surged 11.2 percent on-year to $7.1 billion.
In the first eight months of the year, South Korea shipped $99.75 billion worth of IT products, up 34.7 percent from the same period last year.
“Overall exports dropped in August due to a drop in prices of some products, including computer memory chips and display panels, but exports of mobile phones jumped 10.2 percent to $2.07 billion amid improving competitiveness of smartphones by local manufacturers,” the ministry said in a press release.
South Korea became the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of smartphones in the second quarter of the year with a 23.1 percent share of the global market, and also the world’s largest supplier of all mobile phones with a 24 percent global market share in terms of monetary value, it said.
The drop in IT exports was largely caused by lower-cost shipments of memory chips and display panels, whose combined shipments in terms of monetary value dropped 28.8 percent on-year to $4.26 billion.
Exports of all other IT products, excluding memory chips and display panels, surged 18.9 percent to $8.8 billion, according to the ministry.
The ministry earlier said the drop in exports of memory chips and display panels was largely due to a drop in their global prices. The average price of a dynamic random access memory chip fell to $0.80 in July from $2.60 a year earlier with the price of a display panel also falling 27.8 percent to $258 from $358.
The ministry had also noted the country’s IT sector will be hit hardest by the latest global financial turmoil sparked by a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
The country’s IT exports to the United States dropped 20.4 percent from a year earlier to $1.17 billion in August with its shipments to the European Union also dropping 31.3 percent to $1.17 billion, according to the ministry.
The government, however, said the country’s IT exports will likely reach a new annual high this year as prices of DRAM and other IT products are expected to recover in the second half of the year.
“IT exports are expected to reach a record high of $160 billion this year as exports will likely pick up in the second half when demands are usually the highest,” the ministry said.