(Writes through and adds analyst comment)
SEOUL, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Robust chip sales and improved demand from major trading partners have slowed the pace of decline in South Korean exports which edged just 0.2% lower in the first 10 days of September.
That compares with a 23.7% drop in the Aug. 1-10 period. Imports, however, dropped 7.6%.
Korea Customs Service data showed outbound shipments of semiconductors, the nation’s top export item, surged 43.2% during Sept. 1-10 from the the same period a year earlier, while car exports rose 8.4%.
Analysts have attributed the jump in chip exports to stockpiling by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies ahead of U.S. sanctions which kick in on Sept. 15, noting improved earnings prospects for South Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix.
Taiwan’s exports have also jumped, climbing 8.3% in August, as Huawei rushed to get in orders.
Greg Roh, head of research centre at Hyundai Motor Securities, noted the surge was only temporary and expects chip sales to start falling again from mid-September.
Overall exports to China, South Korea’s biggest trading partner, jumped 9.7% while those to the United States also rose 5.2%.
Reporting by Joori Roh; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin, Heekyong Yang and Jihoon Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Edwina Gibbs