South Korea’s exports of information technology products contracted 3 percent on-year in May due to sluggish global economic growth and fewer products shipped to the United States and Japan, the government said Thursday.
The country shipped $12.94 billion worth of IT products last month, compared with $13.35 billion a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. However, the country posted a trade surplus of $6.57 billion as imports also fell 8.4 percent to $6.37 billion.
May’s outbound shipment numbers represent the third month in a row the country’s IT exports have contracted compared to the year before.
The ministry said last month’s negative showing comes as weak global economic growth weighed down by persistent eurozone fiscal problems and slower-than-expected growth in the United States hurt demand for various IT products.
It said exports of displays and mobile phones contracted 0.2 percent and 36.7 percent last month to $2.70 billion and $1.55 billion, respectively. TV exports were also down 14.4 percent on-year to $520 million.
Outbound shipments of semiconductors, however, moved up 1.7 percent to $4.25 billion, with computers and related equipment jumping 22.5 percent to $670 million.
South Korea’s IT exports to China, including Hong Kong, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union all increased, although numbers for the United States and Japan fell in the cited month compared to May 2011.
Shipments to China rose 4.8 percent to $6.46 billion, while the country’s exports to ASEAN and the EU gained 18.9 percent and 1.5 percent, to $1.43 billion and $1.24 billion, each.
Imports declined as domestic demand for foreign-made mobile phones and computers fell.
For the first five months of this year, the country shipped out $60.38 billion worth of IT products and imported $31.77 billion for a surplus of $28.61 billion. This is smaller than $30.41 billion in the black posted for the same period last year.
The ministry predicted that despite sluggish global growth, indications that China will increase investment in its IT sector and a loss of competitiveness by Japanese and Taiwanese semiconductor and display companies could boost sales of locally made products. It added steady sales of smartphones and system semiconductors should allow the country to maintain its IT sector surplus down the road. (Yonhap News)