South Korea’s steel exports dropped by 6.5pc in March from the prior year as the COVID-19 outbreak in China disrupted supply chains and hit industrial production in the country, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
In March, total exports were US$46.91bn, down 0.2pc from a year ago. In February, the country’s exports grew by 4.3pc after a 15 months gap, driven by semiconductors exports.
South Korean total imports slipped 0.3pc to $41.9bn with rising concerns about the economic impact of COVID-19. April imports are expected to drop as industrial production activities in the country are hampered by the virus outbreak.
Exports of ship decreased 31.4pc, dropping for the first time since three months, while automobile and auto parts exports rose 3pc from the prior year. South Korean auto exports grew despite weak global demand driven by increased exports of SUV to North America and rise in green car exports to the European Union (EU). Exports to the US amounted $7.4bn, up 17.2pc, exports to the EU were up 10pc to 5bn. South Korea’s exports to Japan were up 13.9pc to $2.6bn and China down 5.8pc at $10.8bn, respectively, in March.