MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea’s exports slipped for 14 consecutive months to USD36.4 billion in February, according to a latest report released by the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE), reported TPS.
According to the Ministry, this was down 12.2% from the same month in 2015.
By industry, South Korea’s petroleum and petrochemical exports fell 26.9% and 6.4% on year. However, the decline was not as significant as the previous month, when exports plunged 40.4% and 14.5% on year respectively.
In February, South Korea’s petroleum and petrochemical sectors continued to suffer from the sustained low oil prices which directly translated into lower unit price of export products.
Nonetheless, the country’s petrochemical export volume showed a sign of recovery on a notable increase in petrochemicals demand from China following the end of a week-long Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February.
We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, the South Korean government is pushing forward with consolidation of the petrochemical industries, which are mired in a supply glut and the protracted global economic recession. The restructuring on the petrochemical industry is currently led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. Although working-level officials of major petrochemical firms such as LG Chem, Lotte Chemical, and SK Global Chemical held a meeting in September 2015, in order to discuss issues like capacity adjustment, they no longer do it out of concern that it might be construed as an act of collusion by the Fair Trade Commission. At the time of the meeting, the company officials talked about issues such as volume purchase of naphtha and sharing of wharf and storage facilities to save cost.
The focus of the first-stage talks between the companies and the ministry is on consolidating firms producing purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which include Hanwha General Chemical and Samnam Petrochemical.