South Korea's exports of automobiles dropped significantly from a year earlier in January while its domestic sales grew, the government said Wednesday.
Outbound shipments of vehicles plunged 9.9 percent on-year to 256,052 units last month while domestic sales gained 4 percent, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The country's total output dropped 10.3 percent to 368,243 units.
The ministry attributed the drop in exports partly to worsening global consumer sentiment due to the U.S. tapering of its quantitative easing.
"Total output dropped due to a cut in the number of working days and shrinking exports while exports also dropped significantly as key manufacturers reduced their supplies in line with the U.S. tapering," it said in a press release.
Domestic sales posted a positive on-year growth for the first time in five months while imported vehicles continued to expand their market share.
Domestic sales of locally produced vehicles gained 2.1 percent on-year to 107,150 units while those of imported vehicles jumped 20.3 percent to 14,849 units.
The ministry said the country's trade surplus in the automobile sector reached an all-time high of $63.5 billion in 2013, surpassing the $44 billion surplus for the whole economy.
Such an increase, however, apparently comes from a rise in the price of locally produced vehicles. The ministry earlier said the country's automobile exports fell 2.7 percent on-year to 3,086,394 cars last year while domestic sales of imported vehicles spiked 19.6 percent to 156,497 units. (Yonhap)