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Instant noodle exports jump 20% in March

A shopper looks at instant noodles at a supermarket in Seoul. (Yonhap)
A shopper looks at instant noodles at a supermarket in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea's exports of instant noodles soared 20 percent on-year in March on the global popularity of Korean pop culture amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy exported $71.58 million worth of instant noodles, or "ramyeon" in Korean, last month, up from $59.62 million a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service and industry sources.

From the previous month, overseas shipments of ramyeon shot up 35.8 percent. March marks the first time that the country's monthly exports have topped the $70 million mark

March's brisk shipment was attributed to the global popularity of Korean movies, dramas and music that sent overseas demand swelling.

Overseas K-pop fans have shown keen interest in 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.

Korean-made instant noodles also served as an emergency food in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that forced people to stay home, according to market watchers.

China was the largest overseas market for South Korean instant noodles in March, with exports reaching $19.08 million.

The United States came next with $9.75 million, followed by Japan with $5.71 million, Thailand with $2.9 million and Canada with $2.89 million.

In contrast, exports to Russia nose-dived 58 percent on-year to $540,000 last month following its invasion of Ukraine. Shipments to Ukraine came to nought, compared with $36,000 in February.

Analysts said global sales of Korean instant noodles in March are much higher than the tally as South Korean firms run overseas factories and sell products locally. (Yonhap)

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