Market News & Headlines >> South Korean Food Market Impacted by Coronavirus

The South Korean food market has been significantly impacted by the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, as restaurant sales have dropped, while home food deliveries have increased, the U.S. agricultural attaché in Seoul said in a report dated Feb. 26.

The attaché noted that the Korea Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MLIT) reported on Feb. 25 that public transportation usage in the country declined 51% for express buses, 56% for railroad trains, and 15% for highway traffic between Feb. 21-24 compared to the same period last year. 

Local retail and restaurant industries have reported a sharp decline in consumer visits and sales. The Korea Small Business Federation reported on Feb. 20 that 97.6% of small businesses in Korea saw sales decline since the outbreak of COVID-19 in mid-January. The sales decline was mainly due to reduced consumer visits and weaker economic activity in the market. 

The price of a number of agricultural products has jumped due to reduced imports from China, the attaché said. South Korea’s imports of agricultural products from China declined 67% in January compared to the same period last year. 

As of Monday, South Korea had reported 4,212 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths due to the virus, according to World Health Organization data.