South Korea’s car exports turned around for the first time in 17 months in November on the back of increased production after the end of strikes at major carmakers, government data showed Thursday.
The total value of overseas car shipments rebounded to rise 1.5 percent on-year to US$3.98 billion in November, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
It is the first time since June 2015 that the country’s monthly auto exports have logged an on-year growth.
The number of exported vehicles came to 260,491 units last month, up 0.9 percent from 258,108 units tallied a year earlier, marking the first on-year rise in 13 months.
For the first 11 months of the year, car exports sank 13.6 percent on-year to 2.33 million units, with the value sliding 12.9 percent to $36.1 billion.
The country’s car exports have been on a steady decline for more than a year amid a global slowdown and contracted demand in emerging countries, with the figure posting a seven-year low of 140,506 units exported in August.
“The turnaround was driven by an expansion in the car supply as walkouts at some companies came to an end,” the ministry said.
Unionized workers of South Korea’s leading automakers — Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. — staged a series of strikes in recent months, causing a disruption in output and exports.
As the companies’ management and labor reached an agreement to end walkouts around October and November, their production also showed a rebound.
Total output by five local automobile companies gained 5.1 percent on-year in November to 415,106 units from 395,011, while the on-month figure jumped 19.5 percent from 347,470 units.
Domestic sales, however, edged down 0.2 percent on-year to 156,242 units due mainly to a 16 percent plunge of imported cars.