Non-financial companies in South Korea saw their combined sales shrink for the first time in 10 years in 2020 affected by an overall slump in consumption amid the coronavirus pandemic, central bank data showed Wednesday.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) analyzed 2020 business performances of about 800,000 non-financial companies, including some 170,000 manufacturers, and found that their total sales contracted 1 percent from a year earlier.
This marked the first contraction since the central bank began compiling related data in 2010. The BOK did not provide detailed sales figures.
Companies in the oil refinery and chemical sectors, in particular, saw their sales plunge 34.1 percent and 8 percent, respectively, over the same cited period due to lower global oil prices, the data showed.
In contrast, sales of companies in electronic, image and communication equipment sectors registered a 7 percent rise on-year in their 2020 sales thanks to strong demand for contactfree services amid strict curbs on gatherings and outdoor activities to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The BOK said some 170,000 companies were unable to make enough profit to pay back interest. The proportion of such marginal firms hit a record high of 40.9 percent, compared with 36.9 percent in 2019. (Yonhap)