The exports of textile products, which had maintained an upward trend since June last year, have begun to fall for the first time in 17 months, the Korea Times reported.

According to the Korea Textile Industry Association the outbound shipments of the relevant goods amounted to $1.53bn in October, down 1.5 per cent from a year earlier, mainly buffeted by a decline in export unit prices.

While the quantity of exports rose to 310,000 tons, an increase of 0.3 per cent year-on-year, the average export unit price declined 1.7 per cent from a year earlier to reach $5.09 per kilogram.

The exports of end-use goods contracted 7.1 per cent on a year-to-year basis while those of yarns decreased 2.1 per cent. In contrast, the exports of textile materials and fabric goods rose 1.2 per cent in the same period.

Of the end-use products, the exports of finished clothes decreased 16.7 per cent year-on-year.

By nation, the exports to Japan, amid lacklustre clothing sales, dwindled 20.8 per cent from a year earlier, while those to the United Arab Emirate and Hong Kong decreased 23.3 and 3.5 per cent, respectively, amid a continual decline in sales of fabric products. The shipments into Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Germany also declined 2.9, 3.2, and 22.9 per cent, respectively.

In contrast, the exports to Southeast Asian nations, China, and Brazil continued to increase phenomenally. The low sales of related goods in Japan, one of the largest markets for domestic textile makers, have continued to severely affect domestic concerns.

The exports into the nation decreased to reach $780.94m as of the end of September, down 4.2 per cent from a year earlier.

The shipments of fabric goods marked the sharpest decline of 20.6 per cent at $156.72m.

In the meantime, the imports of textile goods in October amounted to $497.58m, leaving the trade surplus at $1.055bn in October alone. The cumulative trade surplus by the end of October increased to $11.08bn.

An association official said the sluggish shipments of clothes, about 30 per cent of total shipments, caused the lacklustre exports of all goods.

"Amid a steady rise in oil prices, consumption around the world has continued to decrease. Additionally, negative factors involving the Middle East crisis, and anti-dumping steps by Turkey and Mexico, in particular, have worsened the export climate," said the official.