The deepening cold of semiconductors shakes the main pillar of the Korean economy

In the aftermath of the global economic downturn, even semiconductors, a mainstay of the Korean economy, are in trouble. When semiconductors, which account for about 20% of exports, were sluggish, an emergency signal was turned on for the trade balance.

According to the provisional performance for 2022 announced by Samsung Electronics on the 6th, annual sales were 301.7 trillion won, up 7.9% from the previous year. It exceeded 300 trillion won for the first time since its foundation. 토토 On the other hand, operating profit was 43.3 trillion won, down 16% from the previous year. In terms of numbers, this is the result of a good performance amidst the global economic downturn. The problem is that the performance is getting worse and worse, and even the memory semiconductor, which used to be a cash cow, has reached the threshold of loss. Looking at the fourth quarter results alone, sales were 70 trillion won and operating profit was 4.3 trillion won. This is a figure that is difficult to compare with the first half of the year, when it generated more than 14 trillion won in profit per quarter. Contrary to the analysts’ analysis that it would be half of the first quarter of last year, it was only one-third. It is the first time in eight years that Samsung Electronics’ quarterly operating profit fell short of 5 trillion won.

A bigger problem is that it is difficult to expect a rebound in a short period of time. Samsung Electronics did not disclose performance by sector, but it seems to have struggled in all sectors, including mobile phones and displays. In particular, the slump in the semiconductor sector was serious. The stock market estimated the operating profit of Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division at around 2 trillion won in the fourth quarter of last year. 40% of the previous quarter. In particular, the NAND flash memory division is expected to turn into a loss in the fourth quarter of last year. Some predict that the entire semiconductor sector may turn to a quarterly deficit in the first or second quarter of this year. It is the first time in 14 years since the first quarter of 2009, right after the global financial crisis, that Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division has posted a deficit on a quarterly basis. Doh Hyun-woo, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities, said, “Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division will inevitably turn into an operating account deficit in the first quarter at the earliest, or at the latest in the second quarter.”

Signals of semiconductor winter came out from last year. Last year , the fixed transaction price of DRAM ( DDR4 8Gb) for PCs fell by about 40% and fell to the level of $2 at the end of the year. The price of NAND flash ( MLC 64GB) also fell by about 14%. It is difficult to find demand even though prices are falling, so the semiconductor market is certain to show negative growth this year as well. The World Semiconductor Market Statistics Organization ( WSTS ) predicts that global semiconductor sales this year will decline by 4.1% compared to the previous year.

The semiconductor shock also put an emergency on the trade balance. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, exports of semiconductors in December last year decreased by 29.1% compared to the same period last year. As semiconductors faltered, total exports fell 9.5% year-on-year to $54.99 billion, continuing a downward trend for three consecutive months. The decline for three consecutive months is the first since March -August 2020, when Corona 19 was raging .

The problem is that it will be difficult for the semiconductor industry to turn around for the time being. This is because the home appliance industry, which is a downstream industry, is also unable to promise a recovery point due to a decrease in demand. LG Electronics, which announced preliminary results on the same day as Samsung Electronics, also shocked the market by recording 65.5 billion won in operating profit in the fourth quarter of last year, a 91% decrease from the same period last year. Noh Geun-chang, head of the Hyundai Motor Securities Center, said, “Memory semiconductor prices will record a double-digit decline in the first quarter of this year as well.”

Samsung Electronics has maintained its position that it will not reduce investment, saying that there will be no artificial memory production cuts. Song Myeong-seop, a researcher at HI Investment & Securities, predicted, “The worst semiconductor industry conditions in history will continue until the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of this year.”