The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on July 12 that exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods soared 18 percent to USD 15.9 billion in June, a new record for the month.
Outbound shipments in the ICT sector expanded for eight consecutive months and at a double-digit rate for seven straight months as semiconductor exports continued to grow at a fast pace.
Imports of ICT goods jumped 21.7 percent to $8.9 billion. Trade surplus in the ICT sector came to $7 billion, making a major contribution to Korea’s total trade surplus of $11.4 billion.
In the first half of 2017, ICT exports hit a record high, rising 19 percent year-on-year to $90.9 billion. Driven by record-high outbound shipments of semiconductors, ICT exports broke the previous record of $85.3 billion set in the first six months of 2015 and grew at a double-digit rate for the first time since the first half of 2013. Imports advanced 12.1 percent to $48.5 billion, and surplus in this sector stood at $42.4 billion.
The record performance of the ICT sector for the month of June was led by highest-ever exports of semiconductors and growths in outbound shipments of flat-panel displays and computers and peripheral devices.
Semiconductor exports leaped 54.9 percent to a record $8.2 billion on higher prices of NAND flash memory chips and dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips.
Outbound shipments of flat-panel displays jumped 9.2 percent to $2.4 billion, marking the eighth consecutive month of growth, on rising prices of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and growing demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. Exports of computers and peripheral devices advanced 2.9 percent to $811 million on a 28.1-percent increase in overseas sales of solid-state drives (SSDs) that reached $449 million.
Meanwhile, exports of mobile phones and parts declined 42.2 percent to $1.3 billion as Korean handset manufacturers produced more devices in their overseas plants and procured more parts locally.
By region, shipments to Vietnam soared 75.9 percent to $2.1 billion as sales of semiconductors and flat-panel displays leaped 153.7 percent to around $880 million and 172.5 percent to $530 million. Exports to China including Hong Kong rose by 16.6 percent to $8.3 billion with semiconductor shipments surging 57.6 percent to $5.3 billion.
Shipments to the European Union (EU) went up 8.4 percent to $819 million, while those to the U.S. contracted 6.7 percent to $1.4 billion.
Imports grew at a double-digit rate as purchases of mobile phones from abroad nearly doubled and inbound shipments of other main ICT goods including semiconductors, flat-panel displays, and computers expanded.
Imports of mobile phones and parts soared 93.5 percent to $1.6 billion, while semiconductor imports advanced 7.5 percent to $3.2 million. Inbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices and flat-panel displays grew 17.4 percent to $878 million and 30.8 percent to $575 million, respectively.
Korea imported ICT goods worth $3.2 billion from China -- up 12.9 percent from a year earlier. Imports from Japan and the U.S. advanced 18.5 percent to $948 million and 8.1 percent to $737 million, respectively. Inbound shipments from Vietnam surged 22.2 percent to $516 million.
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