South Korea's Digital Electronics Exports Down
May 5, 2005
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South Korea's exports of digital electronics products edged down in April from a year ago due to the Korean won's appreciation and domestic manufacturers' increased offshore production, the Korean government said.

Exports dropped 0.5 percent from a year ago to U.S. $7.98 billion last month, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Imports rose 3.3 percent to $4.59 billion.

The digital-electronics trade surplus of $3.39 billion in April was down 5.2 percent from a year ago and the lowest monthly amount this year.

"The Korean currency's rise against the U.S. dollar contributed mainly to the fall," the ministry said. "Also responsible was a rise in domestic manufacturers' offshore production."

The won has risen nearly 4 percent against the greenback this year after soaring more than 15 percent last year. A stronger won usually hurts South Korean exports by making them more expensive.

Many South Korean companies have shifted their production to China and other Asian countries in search of cheap labor. However, the ministry said overseas demand for cutting-edge products like liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and plasma TVs remained strong.

China was the country's second-largest source of imports after Japan in April, the ministry said, adding that South Korean imports of Chinese products like portable computers, printers, and personal computers surged 40 percent to 90 percent. (Yonhap)

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