Back To Top

South Korea’s ICT exports skid for 11th month

South Korea’s information communications technology exports have declined for 11 straight months due mainly to a slowdown in demand for memory chips, data showed on Monday.

According to the Trade Ministry, Korea’s ICT exports stood at $15.8 billion in September, down 22 percent from the same period last year. The on-year decline has continued for 11 consecutive months since November last year. 

The shipment of chips last month stood at $8.5 billion, a 31.5 percent drop on-year. Despite a positive lead from non-memory chips, exports of memory chips came in at 6 billion, down 41.4 percent due to a slowdown in demand and falling prices.

The price of 4-gigabytes DRAM fell to $1.91 last month compared to $3.7 for the same month the previous year.

Park Jong-won, chief of the Trade Ministry’s chip and display division, attributed this year’s fall to an unprecedented boom in the memory industry in 2018.

The world’s largest memory chip maker Samsung Electronics and its smaller rival SK hynix enjoyed record-high earnings last year. In the third quarter this year, they are predicted to post around $2.5 billion and $300 million in operating profit, respectively, one-fourth and one-tenth compared to the previous year.

Exports of display panels stood at $2 billion last month, down 20 percent on-year. Despite the rise in demand for OLED panels, the shipment for LCD panels slowed down due to the oversupply from China, the ministry said.

Smartphone shipments came in at $1.1 billion, up 2.8 percent on-year. Due to the launch of new premium smartphones, including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10, the export growth turned positive in 14 months.

By region, Korea’s largest ICT export destination China saw a decline in exports by 33 percent in September due to a slowdown in economic growth. The growth rate in the third quarter fell to 6 percent, the lowest level in 27 years. 

By Shin Ji-hye (