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Samsung Electronics fourth-quarter operating profit falls 34%, dogged by chip market downturn

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Thursday its operating profit fell 34% in the October-December quarter, in line with its estimate earlier this month, as the South Korean conglomerate battled a downturn in the memory chip market.

The world’s biggest memory chip and smartphone maker reported operating profit of 7.16 trillion won ($6.13 billion). It also said net profit fell 38% to 5.2 trillion won, and that revenue fell 1% to 59.9 trillion won - also meeting estimates.

A two-year boom in memory chip prices started to fade in late 2018 as demand slumped from data centre customers while a U.S.-China trade war punctuated by tit-for-tat import tariffs muddied purchase decisions, creating a supply glut.

($1 = 1,167.2000 won)

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Sandra Maler