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Korea's exports tumble 18.8% in January

Korea's exports plunged at the fastest pace in six and a half years last month as global demand was hit hard by persistent low oil prices and a slowdown in China, customs data showed Tuesday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at $36.6 billion in January, down 18.8 percent from a year earlier, extending the losing streak to 13 months, according to data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.

The January figure marked the biggest on-year drop since August 2009 when exports nosedived 20.9 percent on-year in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Imports, meanwhile, sank 20 percent on-year to $31.4 billion in January, with the trade surplus reaching $5.2 billion.

Exports of oil-related goods led the overall decline, with petroleum products plummeting 38 percent on-year, while those of ships dropped 33.2 percent.

Shipments of cars and chips slumped 21.3 percent and 13.5 percent last month, respectively, while display panels were shipped 38.5 percent less than a year earlier.

By region, Seoul's exports to nearly all countries retreated over the cited period. Shipments to China and Japan slid 21.6 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively, while sales of Korean-made products dropped 9.3 percent in the United States. (Yonhap)

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