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South Korea's Auto Exports Slumped In January By 4.8 Percent

By February 16, 2017 at 6:15 am
The decline in auto exports in January came after November and December posted on-year gains for the first time since June 2015. (Photo : Getty Images)

For the first time in three months, South Korea's auto exports declined after posting a nearly 5 percent drop in January due to contraction in global demand and decreased working days because of the Lunar New Year's holidays, according to a government report released Thursday.

Outbound shipment of vehicles last month was valued at US$2.86 billion, a 4.8 percent decline from a year ago, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Overall auto production in the country also fell sharply last month with local carmakers making 298,041 vehicles, a 14.2 percent drop from January 2016, data from the trade ministry showed.

The decline in the country's monthly auto exports in the first month of the year came after November and December recorded an on-year growth for the first time since June 2015.

Thursday's report also read that the number of vehicles shipped overseas last month fell 10.1 percent on-year to 179,395 units.

The ministry cited sluggish demand in the global auto market and the fewer business days due to the Lunar New Year's holidays that fell in February in 2016 for the slower exports.

Total output by five South Korean automobile companies tumbled 14.2 percent on-year to 298,041 units last month.

Production at South Korea's largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. plunged 27.2 percent in January, while other three local manufacturers also posting a drop last month. Renault Samsung was the lone local carmaker to post an increase in production, rising 4.8 percent in January.

Meanwhile, domestic sales, including foreign-made cars, increased as companies roll out their new models for this year. 

Domestic car sales climbed 0.2 percent to 123,575 vehicles on robust demand for new models. Sales of locally made vehicles jumped 1.2 percent to 106,261 units, while those of imported cars slid 5.9 percent to 17,314 units.

For the entire 2016, South Korea's auto exports fell 11.8 percent from a year earlier as demand from emerging markets slumped, according to a report by the trade ministry released last month. 

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