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Instant noodle exports hit new high in H1 amid pandemic

Instant noodle products displayed at a store (Yonhap)
Instant noodle products displayed at a store (Yonhap)
South Korea's instant noodle exports touched an all-time high in the first half of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy exported $319.68 million worth of instant noodles, or "ramyeon" in Korean, in the January-June period, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

The amount was above the previous first-half record of $302.08 million set a year earlier.

Yet the first-half growth rate was well lower than the 37.4 percent surge during the first half of last year due mainly to a 15.8 percent on-year fall in shipments to China, the largest export destination.

Other reasons for the slowdown include the so-called base effect and South Korea's export bottlenecks stemming from a shipping container shortage, according to market watchers.

The solid first-half gain was attributed to the global popularity of Korean-made instant noodles as an emergency food in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that forced people to stay home.

Also responsible were strong overseas shipments of Chapaguri, a signature noodle dish from the Oscar-winning film "Parasite" and a mixture of Chapaghetti, instant black bean noodles, and Neoguri, spicy Korean udon-like noodles.

China was the largest overseas market in the first half, with exports reaching $68.13 million.

The United States came next with $37.3 million, followed by Japan with $33.02 million, Taiwan with $16.21 million and the Philippines with $12.05 million.

Meanwhile, South Korea's instant noodle imports came to $4.69 million in the six-month period, according to the data. (Yonhap)