South Korea's exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products fell 4.5 percent in October from a year earlier, extending their losing streak to 16 months, government data showed Tuesday.

Outbound shipments of ICT products came to US$17.1 billion last month, compared with $17.9 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

It was the slowest on-year drop since September last year, when ICT exports lost ground 2.3 percent from a year prior.

The monthly figure has been on the decline since July last year, but the downside pace has been slowing down after hitting a 35.9 percent decrease in April.

The country's ICT imports in October retreated 8.3 percent on-year to $12.6 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.4 billion in the sector.

Exports of semiconductors, which accounted for about half of all ICT shipments, stood at $9 billion, posting the smallest on-year drop of 4.7 percent this year, as sales of memory chips increased for the first time in 16 months.

The recovery is attributable to the upturn of the average quarterly price of 8-gigabit DRAM, following a continued decrease since the third quarter of 2021, the ministry said.

Overseas sales of displays jumped 13.1 percent to $2.3 billion, continuing its winning streak for the third consecutive month, thanks to increased demand for mobile OLED screens.

Exports of mobile phones and computers, however, retreated 3.3 percent and 26.2 percent, respectively.

By nation, combined shipments to China and Hong Kong went down 3.5 percent on-year to $7.6 billion, logging a single digit drop for the first time since September last year, as exports of semiconductors rose for the first time in 16 months.

Exports to the United States and the European Union sank 14.7 percent and 12.3 percent to $1.7 billion and $850 million, respectively, while exports to Vietnam inched up 0.3 percent to $3.2 billion thanks to higher demand for mobile displays.