SEOUL — South Korean exports and imports suffered a precipitous decline in the first 10 days of May, underlining a bleak outlook for Asia’s fourth largest economy and international trade as the coronavirus crisis slammed global demand.
Exports contracted 46.3% year-on-year in the period, while imports fell an equally dizzying 37.2%, data from the Korea Customs Service showed on Monday.
By categories, overseas sales of semiconductors dropped 17.8%, while that for mobile communication devices and petrochemical products contracted sharply by 35.9% and 75.6%, respectively.
The numbers from South Korea, the first major exporting nation to release monthly trade data, underscores the pandemic’s devastating impact across supply chains and businesses, and points to a rough yeah ahead for international trade.
The export-reliant economy stumbled into its biggest contraction since 2008 in the first quarter even as the Bank of Korea slashed interest rates <KROCRT=ECI> by 50 basis points to a fresh low of 0.75% in March, as self-isolation measures hit consumption and global trade slumped.
Its two biggest trading partners, the United States and China saw their economies contract sharply in the first quarter, suggesting a recovery in global trade is some way off.
Data released last