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Exports down for 8th straight month amid trade dispute, chip slump

South Korea's exports decreased 11 percent in July from a year earlier, extending their on-year fall to an eighth consecutive month, amid the drawn-out trade dispute between the United States and China, and a decline in prices of semiconductors, data showed Thursday.

Outbound shipments came to $46.14 billion for July, down from the $51.8 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports fell 2.7 percent on-year last month to $43.7 billion, the ministry added.


The country's trade surplus came to $2.44 billion in July, marking 90 straight months in which the country's exports have exceeded imports.

Outbound shipments of semiconductors, the country's main export good, dropped by a whopping 28.1 percent last month from a year earlier, and the petrochemical segment suffered a 12.4 percent drop in exports over the cited period, the ministry said.

Exports of vehicles, on the other hand, improved 21.6 percent over the cited period.

The sluggish exports were mostly attributable to the growing trade disputes around the globe, including those of the United States and China, according to the ministry.

Japan's latest export curbs against South Korea are also casting a cloud over Asia's No. 4 economy, the ministry said.

Starting in July, Tokyo began implementing tougher restrictions on South Korea-bound shipments of three key materials vital for the production of semiconductors and displays.

Japan is set to further expand export restrictions to other areas as early as this week despite concerns that the moves would disrupt global supply chains.

By country, South Korea's exports to China decreased 16.4 percent on-year in July, with those to the US moving down 0.7 percent, the data showed. (Yonhap)