Cheaper IT prices good for public, not exporters

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Cheaper IT prices good for public, not exporters

Korea’s exports of IT products recorded a sharp drop from a year earlier in January due to plunging prices of its key products, the government said yesterday.

The country shipped $11.18 billion worth of IT products last month, down 12.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Korea still managed to record a trade surplus of $4.93 billion in the IT sector as its imports also shrank 10.4 percent on-year to $6.25 billion. The January surplus, however, dropped 17 percent from a month earlier.

The ministry said last month’s drop was partly due to a decrease in the number of business days from a year earlier but also due to falling prices of its key export items, including computer memory chips and display panels.

The price of a dynamic random access memory chip plunged 53.8 percent from $1.91 in January 2011 to $0.88 last month, while the price of NAND flash memory chips also plummeted 39 percent from $5.38 per unit to $3.28, the ministry said.

The country’s overall exports of semiconductors dropped 8 percent on-year to $3.77 billion.

“The country’s global market share for memory chips continues to grow, but the amount of its exports dropped 32.5 percent from the same period last year to $1.47 billion due to a delay in the recovery of prices,” the ministry said in a release.

Outbound shipments of display panels also dropped 11.2 percent from a year earlier to $2.27 billion as the average global price of liquid crystal displays for TVs dropped 21.9 percent. Yonhap

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