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Major firms' Q3 overseas sales inch up despite pandemic

Coronavirus pandemic (Yonhap)
Coronavirus pandemic (Yonhap)
Major South Korean companies saw their overseas sales inch up in the third quarter of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Tuesday.

Combined overseas sales of the country's top 100 firms by revenue totaled 181.9 trillion won ($164 billion) in the September-July period, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI).

The figure marks a 24.1 percent surge from three months earlier when their overseas sales tumbled nearly 20 percent on-year due to the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The FKI, which serves as the lobby for South Korea's family-controlled conglomerates, attributed the third-quarter surge to strong demand from the United States and China thanks to their softened coronavirus restrictions and stimulus measures.

Sales of the electric and electronics industries soared nearly 21 percent on-year to 85.4 trillion won in the third quarter, leading the overall increase.

In contrast, auto and auto parts makers saw their overseas sales drop 4 percent during the quarter, a slowdown from the 36.5 percent plunge three months earlier.

Sales of energy firms and chemical makers sank 14.6 percent, and those of steelmakers and metal companies nose-dived about 40 percent.

The data also showed third-quarter overseas sales of the top 20 firms rose 13.7 percent in the Americas, 4.7 percent in Asia and China, and 3.4 percent in Europe. Hit by the pandemic, their sales in those regions dipped at double-digit rates in the second quarter.

In the first three quarters of the year, total overseas sales of the 100 leading firms slumped 7.1 percent on-year, compared with a 3 percent drop in their overall top line. (Yonhap)
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