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Agricultural exports plunge on weak yen

Exports in the agricultural sector fell significantly last month as the record-cheaper Japanese yen undermined the price competitiveness of the South Korean farmed goods, government data showed Tuesday.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the outbound shipments of fresh and processed food products in May was $480.4 million, down 8.1 percent from a year earlier.

The January-May exports stood at 2.5 billion won, down 1.3 percent on-year, accounting for only 32 percent of the government’s annual goal of 7.7 billion won. During the same period, the average won-yen exchange rate fell to 917.19 won, down 10.9 percent from a year earlier.

The continued weak-yen affected Korean exports of fresh food and fresh flowers the hardest. In May, exports to Japan shrank 14.7 percent for kimchi, 50.5 percent for fresh rose and 60.8 percent for fresh chrysanthemum.

To plug further losses, the Agriculture Ministry is pushing to increase exports to China, North America and the Middle East, with which Korea reached agreement on quarantine.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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