South Korean shipbuilders saw their new orders tumble more than 70 percent in March from a year earlier due to increased ship prices, industry data showed Sunday.
South Korean shipyards clinched new orders totaling 434,774 compensated gross tons (CGTs) last month, down 70.1 percent from 1.45 million CGTs a year ago, according to the data by global market researcher Clarkson Research Services.
The number accounted for 22.8 percent of the total global ship orders, with South Korean shipyards outpaced by Chinese rivals.
Chinese shipbuilders won orders totaling 1.05 million CGTs in March, equaling 54.9 percent of the global total, the data showed.
CGT, an indicator of the amount of work needed to build a given ship, is used as a tool to compare inter-country shipbuilding output. It is the generally used measure for the volume of orders received.
The plunge in March orders left South Korean shipbuilding companies trailing their Chinese rivals in the January-March period.
In the first quarter, South Korean shipbuilders won 4.03 million CGTs, or 37.4 percent of the global total, while Chinese companies garnered 4.29 million CGTs, or 39.8 percent.
In the first two months, cumulative orders of local shipbuilders reached 3.13 million CGTs, 34.7 percent more than the 2.32 million CGTs of Chinese shipbuilders.
According to industry watchers, the March plunge resulted from global shipping companies' unwillingness to place new orders amid rising ship prices. (Yonhap)