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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Exports in the Global Recession: Current Status and Prospects

Exports in the Global Recession: Current Status and Prospects

KIM Jung-Woo

Apr. 6, 2009

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Originally released on Feburary 24, 2009

Korea's exports have maintained double digit growth since 2003, including 13.6% in 2008, but export growth has decelerated sharply from October 2008 and posted negative year-on-year growth for five consecutive months from November. This was the first time exports posted negative monthly growth since 2002 (excluding September 2007). Exports in January through March of 2009 fell back to the levels of 2005-06. Though the pace of the decline slowed in March compared to January (34.2% drop), exports were still down by as much as 21.2% in March, indicating a difficult environment for exporters.

The share of exports by industry has also changed. Traditional mainstay industries such as shipbuilding and chemicals have been increasing their share in exports while the IT industry has experienced a fall in its share. While the top ten export items continue to increase their proportion, taking up over 60% of total exports in 2008, the proportion of IT products fell sharply to 23.2% (30.5% in 2004). Exports of ships and petrochemicals have risen to rank first and second in 2008, while Flat Panel Displays (FPD) and sensors rose to sixth. Semiconductors and automobiles, which have ranked first and second place in the past, fell to fourth and fifth in 2008.

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