Major South Korean conglomerates suffered a major decline in their operating earnings in the first half of 2019.
According to market researcher Infobix, the combined operating profits of 90 listed companies affiliated with the nation's ten largest business groups hovered around 17.5 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months of the year.
This is a staggering 53.5 percent decrease from a year earlier.
The operating earnings for the second quarter, in particular, plunged a whopping 63 percent on-year.
The market researcher points to weak global demand for semiconductors and the prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China as the main reasons for the drop.
"The conditions facing the semiconductor industry would not be worse, but won't get better soon either. As the U.S.-China trade tensions escalate, conditions will not improve in the short-term."
Hanhwa Group saw the biggest plunge in operating earnings, down 72.8 percent.
Samsung Group and Hanjin Group's operating earnings dropped 65.9 and 63 percent, respectively.
However, it wasn't all doom and gloom, Hyundai Motor Group's operating profits jumped 38.6 percent, thanks to strong demand for new models and the weak local currency.
As the above figures do not reflect the uncertainties caused by Japan's trade curbs and the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, South Korean conglomerates are expected to face even more difficulties in the latter half of the year.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.