The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that exports rose 2.7 percent in November, posting USD 44.5 billion, and imports also rose 10.1 percent compared to the same month last year, posting $37.5 billion. Trade balance in November came to a $8 billion surplus, and recorded the largest monthly volume in both exports and imports since July 2015.
The driving force behind this export growth is the rise of major export goods including semiconductors, petrochemicals, computers as well as flat display and steel. 12 out of 13 major export products such as petrochemicals, machinery, computers and semiconductors have enjoyed a year-on-year increase of 6.2 percent, for the first time since December 2014.
Outbound shipment of semiconductors saw a boost of 11.6 percent on-year thanks to the increase in price from a growing demand for smartphone mobile chips. Posting at $5.79 billion, semiconductors achieved the 5th highest monthly record.
Korean machinery reveled in increased European infrastructure investment as well as increased demand from Central America. Consequently the export of machinery escalated 19.3 percent year-on-year, a first double digit growth in 23 months since December 2014.
Export of steel products also savored its first double digit growth since December 2014, at 10.8 percent on-year, thanks to a hike in export unit price. It was due to international price hike as well as raw material price hike.
The two struggling sectors, automobile industry and ship industry, had different results in November. The automobile industry inched up 1.5 percent year-on-year after the strike at the finished car production industry ended and turned to positive terrain in 17 months, since June 2015. However the shipbuilding industry plummeted 36.8 percent from the same period last year.
Korean products are enjoying growing popularity across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), jumping to 43.6 percent; Vietnam, 38.5 percent year-on-year; and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 22.0 percent year-on-year. The bigger trading partners of Korea such as China, the U.S. and Japan have also shown decent growth. Korean export to China only grew 0.4 percent but in the United States, sale of Korean goods increased 3.9 percent and in Japan 12.6 percent.
| Korean Export and Import Results for November (USD 100 million, %)
|| Jan – Nov
|| Jan – Nov