SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) - South Korea's export kept falling for the 10th consecutive month to September, continuing a double-digit reduction for four months in a row, a government report showed Tuesday.
Export, which takes up around half of the export-driven economy, declined 11.7 percent from a year earlier to 44.71 billion U.S. dollars in September, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The export fall lasted since December last year, diminishing in double figures for four straight months since June.
Lower prices for semiconductors and oil products contributed to the slide in export value amid the cheaper global crude oil and the global chip industry's downturn.
In terms of volume, the outbound shipment gained 3.1 percent last month. For the first nine months of this year, it added 0.9 percent from the same nine-month period of last year.
The daily export averaged 2.18 billion dollars in September, marking this year's biggest monthly figure.
Import reduced 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 38.74 billion dollars last month, sending the trade surplus to 5.97 billion dollars.
It marked the biggest trade surplus this year. The trade balance stayed in black for 92 months in a row.
External uncertainties remained for the export-dependent economy, such as the global trade dispute, the trade feud between South Korea and Japan, and the continued dip in chip prices.
The Seoul-Tokyo trade spat came as Japan tightened control in July over its export to South Korea of three materials vital to produce memory chips and display panels, the mainstay of the South Korean export.
Japan dropped South Korea off its whitelist of trusted trading partners, which are given preferential export procedure, in August. In response, Seoul removed Tokyo from its whitelist of trusted export partners.
South Korea said Japan's export curbs had a limited impact on the South Korean trade as the country's export to and import from Japan reduced 4.1 percent and 8.4 percent each in the July-September period from a year ago, which were in line with the average falling rates of this year.
During the July-August period, Japan's export to South Korea shed at a faster pace of 8.1 percent than a 3.5 percent reduction in South Korea's shipment to Japan.
It came amid the ongoing campaign here to boycott Japanese products and tour to the neighboring country.
Meanwhile, South Korea's chip export plunged 31.5 percent in September from a year earlier on lower chip price.
Petrochemical shipment went down 17.6 percent, and the oil product export declined 18.8 percent amid the lower global crude price.
Display panel export sank in double figures on lower product price, with shipments for steel and general machinery falling amid the global economic slowdown.
Export in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical equipment industry jumped 25.2 percent, and shipment of secondary batteries grew for the second straight month.
Cosmetics export rose for the third consecutive month, and farm goods shipment rose in double figures last month.
Automotive export kept increasing for six months in a row, and the auto parts shipment rebounded in the month.
By region, export to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, dived 21.8 percent in the month, with shipment to the United States skidding 2.2 percent.
Export to the European Union (EU) rose in double digits on strong demand for locally-made ships, oil products and telecommunication devices such as smartphone.
Shipment to Central and Latin American countries gained in double figures, but those to India and the Middle East reduced in double digits.