South Korea’s auto exports fall most in over six years

Seoul, Feb 10 (IANS) South Korea’s automobile exports suffered the most severe decline in more than six years in the first month of 2016, triggering worries about the export-driven economy, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Auto exports tumbled 18.8 percent from a year earlier to reach 201,967 units in January, posting the fastest monthly decline since October 2009, Xinhua quoted the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying.

The auto exports continued to grow from August last year, ending the growth trend in January. Weak car demand contributed to a fall in overall exports, which declined 18.5 percent in January from a year earlier.

Car exports by the country’s biggest automaker Hyundai Motor plunged 23.2 percent from a year earlier to 72,562 units in January, with those for its affiliate Kia Motors dropping 26.7 percent last month.

Shipment by GM Korea increased two percent to 39,267 units due to demand for new models.

Domestic car sales shrank 6.8 percent to 123,379 units in January, marking the first reduction in 11 months. Home-made car sales slid 5.2 percent, with imported car sales dipping 14.7 percent.

Weak domestic demand for cars was attributable to the end of consumption tax cut in December last year. The South Korean government announced a plan to extend the tax cut to the end of June.

Seoul adopts resolution condemning Pyongyang rocket launch

South Korea’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch, calling for effective sanctions against Pyongyang.

The National Assembly called an emergency plenary session on the final day of the five-day Lunar New Year holiday, passing the resolution with 241 votes in favour and seven abstentions, Xinhua reported.

The resolution said Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test and long-range missile test clearly violated UN Security Council resolutions, denouncing the reckless provocative acts threatening peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the international community.

Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket on Sunday to deliver an observation satellite into orbit.

On January 6, North Korea detonated what it claimed was its first H-bomb, the fourth of its nuclear blasts.

The long-range missile launch isolated Pyongyang further from the international community, the resolution said, noting that the consequent harsh price which North Korea should pay for its provocation will be totally blamed on its authorities.

The resolution urged Pyongyang to return to being a responsible member of the international community by giving up its nuclear and missile programmes and stopping provocations.

Lawmakers also called for the South Korean government to make all-out efforts, including seeking the adoption of strong and effective sanctions at the UN Security Council and the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue, in close cooperation with the international community.

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