South Korea’s exports declined 15.4 percent on-year in the first 10 days of January, customs data showed Monday, amid the prolonged fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak.

The country’s outbound shipments stood at $11.2 billion in the Jan. 1-10 period, compared with $13.2 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Imports decreased 22.9 percent on-year to $11.8 billion in the 10-day period, resulting in a trade deficit of $636 million, the data showed.

By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, inched down 0.3 percent over the cited period, while those of petroleum products plunged 62.9 percent on-year amid low oil costs.

Semiconductors account for about 20 percent of exports by South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chipmaker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc.

But exports of ships jumped 43.4 percent on-year, and those of telecommunication devices soared 43.3 percent.

By country, shipments to China — South Korea’s largest trading partner — fell 5.6 percent on-year, and exports to the United States declined 3.8 percent, the data showed.

Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, fell 5.4 percent on-year in 2020 due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the trade ministry.

On a monthly basis, the pace of the slump has eased since June last year, as major economies resumed business activities following months of border lockdowns and as South Korea’s exports of chips recovered. (Yonhap)