Weakness is chip sales has South Korean producers worried and may portend weakness in the tech industry overall. Bloomberg’s Sam Kim reports:
South Korea’s flagging chip sales are set to send exports for a tenth monthly slide, dashing hopes of a near-term rebound in global tech demand.
Exports during the first 20 days of September tumbled 22% from a year earlier, data from the Korea Customs Service showed Monday. Shipments to China, South Korea’s biggest trading partner, plunged 30%.
Tech products showed a mixed performance — semiconductor sales plummeted 40%, while those for mobile communication devices, which account for a smaller share of total exports, jumped 58%.
The weakness in semiconductor sales lays bare the gap between reality and optimistic views that have recently emerged about technology markets. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said last week the tech cycle had bottomed, while the world’s biggest maker of memory chips and smartphones Samsung Electronics Co. saw its share price reach a 15-month high last week.
“The primary question is whether chip sales improve or not,” said An Young-jin, an economist at SK Securities. “If major companies in China and the U.S. increase spending on servers, South Korea may benefit from chip supplies, but we need to keep watching whether that chance will materialize.”
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