SEOUL, South Korea South Korea's overseas shipments of information technology products rose 3.2 percent last month over April 2005, to $8.08 billion, the country’s government reported. But the result ended the industry’s eight-month streak of double-digit year-on-year monthly export growth.
The Ministry of Information and Communication cited price declines, a stronger won relative to other currencies, expansion of domestic companies’ overseas production and seasonal slowness as the culprits behind April’s lackluster showing.
The industry's imports for the month totaled $4.72 billion, an 8.7 percent increase over April 2005 and a contributor to the $3.36 billion trade surplus tallied by the sector. Accounting for the bulk of imports were semiconductors for use in mobile phones and digital home appliances, along with personal computers and other information-providing devices.
By product category, the country’s overseas shipments of display panels increased to $1.26 billion, a whopping 105.2 percent jump over April 2005, while exports of digital TVs rose 22.3 percent, to $490 million. Exports of semiconductors increased 4.4 percent year-on-year, to $2.61 billion.
However, outbound shipments of mobile phones, one of the country’s major export categories, declined 14.4 percent year on year, to $1.72 billion. Lower shipments to the United States, the European Union and China siphoned off the gains from brisk mobile-phone sales in Brazil, India and Mexico, the ministry reported.
By destination, exports to China grew a mere 5.4 percent, to $2.84 billion, as strong demand for semiconductors and display items offset a slowdown in shipments of mobile phones and desktop monitors. Exports to Japan rose a healthier 33.2 percent, to $740 million.
But shipments to the States dropped by 24.2 percent, to $810 million, because of fierce competition, the strength of the won and limited demand for memory chips in the U.S. market. In Europe, meanwhile, continued lackluster performance in semiconductors and mobile phones led to a 0.1 percent slip in exports to EU nations, to $1.34 billion.
The ministry predicted that gradual growth of the world economy, domestic companies' efforts to diversify overseas markets and scheduled international sporting events (including the World Cup soccer finals and the Asian Games) would bring a measure of recovery to the industry’s year-on-year growth figures in the coming months.