South Korea's exports from November 1st to the 10th fell 20.8 percent on-year, largely due to the sluggish semiconductor industry.
According to the Korea Customs Services, the country's exports amounted to roughly 12 billion U.S. dollars, which is 3 billion dollars less than the same period last year.
This was mainly because the total value of semiconductor shipments, a key export, was down by a third as chip prices fell.
"Chip prices are now 60 percent lower than they were last year. This is because of an oversupply among local chipmakers and low demand from global firms that are holding back investments in their data centers."
Petroleum products also saw a notable decline of 27 percent, with the falling price of oil to be blamed as well.
The official said that the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and the global economic slowdown are pulling down demand.
Meanwhile, the ongoing Seoul-Tokyo trade spat has also taken its toll on South Korea's trade, with exports to Japan down 15 percent on year.
Overall in the first 10 days of November, South Korea recorded a trade deficit of roughly 4-hundred million dollars.
However, the trade ministry expressed optimism for the months to come, especially in semiconductors.
"The sluggish growth in industry was caused by a fall in chip prices not a fall in the trade volume itself. Local companies remain strong in the global market, but they've been hit temporarily by external factors. And prospects for the semiconductor industry look brighter, with global firms getting ready to start investing in data centers, which will push up demand for semiconductors."
To overcome its depedence on semiconductors, South Korea has been working to diversify its main export items as well as broaden its trade partners.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.