Container trades between South Korea and eight Southeast Asian economies was sluggish in January, going down 2.9% year on year to 314,568 TEUs, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS). Box volumes to and from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam increased, but those to and from Hong Kong and Malaysia did not. In February, however, containers to and from six economies that excluded Hong Kong and Singapore turned upward. Those to and from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, in particular, enjoyed double-digit improvements, contributing to a growth of 9.7% to 329,098 TEUs. It is analyzed that buyers in South Korea imported commodities from other Asian territories because factories in China had discontinued operations due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the first two months of the year, 643,666 TEUs were moved between South Korea and the eight Asian economies in total, swelling 3.1% from 624,158 TEUs. Exports from South Korea only improved a slight 0.5% to 330,447 TEUs, but imports from the eight rose a more favorable 6.1% to 313,219 TEUs. In particular, those from Vietnam and Thailand were brisk, climbing 4.2% to 189,718 TEUs and 13.2% to 84,384 TEUs, respectively. It is projected that local production in Asia will slow down under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that container movement will decelerate consequently.  




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