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Chips, computers boost S. Korea's ICT exports in Aug.

11:00 September 15, 2020

SEJONG, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's outbound shipments of information and communication technology (ICT) products edged up 0.3 percent on-year in August, data showed Tuesday, as exports of memory chips, computers and peripherals remained robust amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Exports of ICT products reached US$15.24 billion last month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT. This marks the third month in a row that monthly exports have moved up compared with 2019.

Imports moved up 4.3 percent to $9.19 billion in August, resulting in a trade surplus of $6.05 billion in ICT trade, data showed.

ICT products, a key contributor to South Korean exports, have been hit by COVID-19. They plunged 15.3 percent on-year in April and contracted 2.6 percent in the following month before making a rebound in June with 1 percent growth, followed by an increase of 3.3 percent in July.

By segment, exports of semiconductors, a critical item for Asia's fourth-largest economy, gained 2.6 percent from the previous year to reach $8.29 billion.

This file photo shows semiconductors and image sensors on display at Samsung Electronics PR hall in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

Outbound shipments of computers and related products nearly doubled over the period to reach $1.34 billion, as more people worked from home due to the virus outbreak.

Overseas sales of mobile devices, such as smartphones, on the other hand, plunged 33 percent to $700 million, with exports of displays falling 17 percent to $1.8 billion over the cited period.

Exports to China, the largest overseas market for locally made ICT products, backtracked 3.3 percent to $7.1 billion, with shipments to Vietnam down 2 percent to $2.76 billion.

Shipments to the United States, however, shot up 18 percent to $1.75 billion over the period.

South Korea's overall exports have been losing ground since early this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt both consumption and production. In August, the country's exports stood at $39.66 billion, down 9.9 percent from a year earlier and marking the sixth consecutive month that outbound shipments have lost ground.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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