Tech savvy South Korea's ICT exports dropped almost 10 percent year-over-year in February, pulled down by feeble shipments of semiconductors and displays, according to numbers released last week by the country's Ministry of Trade, Energy and Industry.
The country's ICT exports were broadly down last month, with slight glimmers of strength in specific segments such as mobile phones, computers, and IT peripherals.
In February, ICT exports dropped 9.8 percent year-over-year to $11.47 billion and imports inched upward 1.5 percent to $6.88 billion. That compounds grim ICT figures for the month before. In January, outbound shipments of ICT products decreased 17.8 percent year-over-year to $11.86 billion, a three-year low for East Asia's third-largest economy.
For the economy in general, South Korea's exports dropped 12.2 percent year-over-year in February to $36.42 billion.
Exports of mobile phones totalled $1.93 billion in February, an increase of 2.8 percent year-over-year, and exports of computers and IT peripherals such as monitors were up 8.8 percent. Exports of computers and IT peripherals registered in the black for the first time in four months.
The country's weak ICT exports were particularly pronounced in semiconductors and displays. Exports of semiconductors reached $4.15 billion, a decline of 12.8 percent in February year-over-year, and exports of displays plunged to $1.94 billion, a drop of 23.4 percent.
Very weak pricing for DRAMs and other system chips was blamed for the decline in semiconductor exports, while falling demand and lower panel prices accounted for the drop in display exports.
Despite the ugly picture for exports, revenue earned by South Korea's ICT sector edged up 1.5 percent year-over-year in February to $6.88 billion.
By segment, revenues for semiconductors were up 4.8 percent year-over-year in February, taking in 2.96 billion, and computers and IT peripherals saw an increase of 7.6 percent year-over-year to $700 million.