British media said that South Korea's exports fell in December 2018, which is the latest signs of China's economic slowdown and the impact of Sino-US trade wars on other economies in the region.
According to the British "Financial Times" website reported on January 1, due to the cold demand in China, storage chips and oil prices fell, South Korea's exports in December 2018 decreased by 1.2%, contrary to economists' growth forecast.
According to data released by the Korea Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry on the 1st, in December 2018, exports to China, which accounted for a quarter of South Korea’s total exports, plummeted by nearly 14%, compared with an increase of nearly 15% in the same period last year.
Cheng Yunmo, the minister of industry and trade resources of Asia’s fourth largest economy, said: “Our export situation is quite severe due to the slowdown of major economies and the tight trade situation between China and the United States.”
According to the report, South Korea is one of the first large regional economies to feel the slowdown of China's economy, and other trading partners in the region, including Taiwan, Japan and Australia, are also preparing for the possible impact.
The United States and China are South Korea's two major trading partners, and South Korea mainly exports semi-finished products used in China's home appliances, computers and telecommunications equipment.
South Korea is a major exporter of microchips, ships, automobiles and petroleum products. The country’s export data is seen as a benchmark for global demand, as its data is published earlier than most major economies.
According to reports, as global technology companies reduced their investment in data centers, the price of memory chips has fallen in recent months, and the country's largest export commodity, semiconductor exports, fell 8.3% year-on-year.
South Korea’s exports in 2018 increased by 5.5%, while in 2017 it increased by 15.8%. The government expects the country's export growth rate to slow further to 3.1% this year.
South Korea has announced a series of stimulus measures, including tax cuts, to minimize the negative impact of global trade wars.
But economists warn that countries that rely on exports in the region cannot escape the full impact.
Li Xiangzai, an economist at Korea’s investment securities company, said: “The data shows that our concerns about adverse effects have become a reality. Export tightening cannot be a short-lived issue, and this year’s problems may increase.”