The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on July 19 that exports of industrial materials and components jumped 10.5 percent to USD 134.4 billion in the first half, marking the first double-digit growth in six years since the second half of 2011.
Outbound shipments of 12 types of materials and components surged 10.3 percent to $68.6 billion in the second quarter from a year earlier and expanded 10.7 percent to $65.8 billion in the first quarter.
Both export prices and volume rose for two consecutive quarters for the first time in 22 quarters since the third quarter of 2011.
The Ministry’s analysis of data also showed that markets for Korean exporters have diversified with the proportion of shipments to Southeast Asia and Europe from the total material and component exports growing.
Imports advanced 9.6 percent year-on-year to $81.4 billion in the first half, and trade surplus came to $53 billion -- up $5.6 billion from the same period of 2016. This is the first time surplus in trade of both materials and components increased since the second half of 2014. Surplus in component trade rose by 46.2 percent to $4.2 billion, and that in material trade by 10.2 percent to $11.2 billion.
A breakdown of exports showed that outbound shipments of materials increased 13.7 percent to $41.3 billion and those of components went up 9.1 percent to $93.1 billion.
Among seven types of components, exports of electronic parts surged 23.9 percent year-on-year to $49.6 billion in the first half on strong sales of memory chips for smart phones and solid-state drives. Computers and office equipment parts and precision equipment parts also recorded double-digit growths in exports -- 21 percent to $3.2 billion and 16.6 percent to $3.1 billion, respectively, while exports of general machinery parts rose by 6 percent to $12.4 billion.
Exports of electrical machine parts dropped 22.8 percent to $9.3 billion, mainly because certain goods were reclassified to the category of electronic parts. Reduced production at Korean automotive makers’ overseas plants drove down outbound shipments of transport machinery parts by 4.6 percent to $13.3 billion.
Outbound shipments of chemical products grew at a fastest pace among five categories of materials. They jumped 17.9 to $21.2 billion on rising oil prices and expanded production capacities with the operation of newly added facilities.
Exports of primary metal and rubber and plastics advanced 13.4 percent to $12.4 billion and 6.7 percent to $4.7 billion, respectively, while textiles exports contracted 3.9 percent to $1.9 billion.
Exports of materials and components to all regions except the Middle East expanded. Shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region soared 24.3 percent to $24.2 billion on higher prices of synthetic rubber and nonferrous metal, with exports to Vietnam, in particular, leaping 30.3 percent to $12.8 billion. Rising demand for Korean electronic parts and increasing automobile production at Korean firms’ manufacturing bases in the region contributed to a 23-percent growth in exports to the Central and South America that reached $7.1 billion.
Shipments to China climbed up 0.8 percent to $40 billion as double-digit growths in exports of chemical products and primary metal were offset by the decline in shipments of transport machinery parts. Exports to the European Union and the U.S. increased 7.4 percent to $15.6 billion and 2.5 percent to $13.9 billion, respectively.
For imports, all product categories except textile and transport machinery parts showed growths. Higher prices drove up inbound shipments of primary metal by 25.5 percent to $11.4 billion, while purchases of chemical products from abroad jumped 11.3 percent to $13.7 billion on larger demand for raw materials.
Inbound shipments of general machinery parts surged 12.9 percent to $9.5 billion as purchases of semiconductor manufacturing machine leaped 65.3 percent to $1.1 billion amid steep growth of semiconductor exports. Imports of electronic parts also expanded 5 percent to $24.1 billion.
Imports from all regions increased. Rising raw material prices boosted inbound shipments from China by 13.5 percent to $23.8 billion. Imports from Japan – mostly general machinery parts, chemical products, and primary metal, jumped 10.9 percent to $14.1 billion.
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