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Korea’s automobile exports shrink in Feb

Korea’s automobile exports shrink in Feb

SEOUL: Korea’s automobile exports shrank for four consecutive months in February due mainly to contracted demand from emerging markets amid fast-falling oil prices, the government said Wednesday. Outbound shipments of vehicles came to 192,276 units last month, down 8.1 percent from 209,148 units tallied a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The February figure narrowed from an 18.8 percent on-year plunge in January, the fastest decline since October 2010, but extended its losing streak to four straight months.It also slipped 3.7 percent on-month from January’s 201,967 units.

The total value of overseas shipments also fell 9.3 percent on-year to $3 billion.”A deep slump in emerging economies in the Middle East and Latin America weighed heavily on Korea’s auto exports amid a sharp drop in crude oil and other commodity prices,” the ministry said in a release.

Shipments to the Middle East nosedived 74.1 percent on-year last month, while those to countries in Central and South America tumbled 41.1 percent over the cited period. But exports to the European Union jumped 21.6 percent last month, offsetting the decline. In line with the downbeat exports, total output by five local carmakers led by industry leader Hyundai Motor moved down 3.7 percent on-year in February to 305,976 units from 317,746.

However, domestic sales gained 5.2 percent on-year to 127,130 units in February, a turnaround from a 6.8 percent drop in January on the back of a resumption of the government-led excise tax cut program. Early last month, the government announced a plan to resume the tax cuts on cars this year to revive faltering domestic consumption. The program will be retroactive to January and runs through June.