Builders’ 2020 sales fall for first time in 21 years on pandemic



South Korean construction companies’ sales dropped on-year in 2020 for the first time in 21 years due to the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Thursday.

The combined top line of local builders reached 396.9 trillion won ($336 billion) last year, down 1.1 percent from the previous year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

It marks the first on-year decline since the 11.1 percent decrease recorded in 1999 in the wake of the country’s foreign exchange crisis.

Their domestic sales rose 0.1 percent on-year to 371.4 trillion won, while overseas sales shrank 15.6 percent.

“Builders’ overall sales declined in 2020 from a year earlier as pandemic-induced lockdowns made a big dent in their overseas orders,” the statistical agency said.

Combined sales of the nation’s top 100 construction firms came to 137.8 trillion won in 2020, down 5.8 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 34.7 percent of the total.

The number of construction firms in Asia’s fourth-largest economy stood at 82,567 last year, up 4.7 percent from the prior year.

General construction companies numbered 11,892, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, with that of specialized builders also rising 4.7 percent on-year.

Yet their combined workforce amounted to 1.67 million in 2020, 2.2 percent lower than a year earlier. It was the first on-year fall in six years.

The construction industry’s added value stood at 130 trillion won last year, up 1.1 percent from the previous year.

The data also showed local builders’ construction costs totaled 378 trillion won in 2020, down 1.5 percent from a year earlier. (Yonhap)

Read MoreBuilders’ 2020 sales fall for first time in 21 years on pandemic

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