The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on October 1 that Korea’s exports rose by 7.1 percent to USD 45 billion in October despite fewer working days.
Exports of goods grew for the 12th consecutive month and outbound shipments of semiconductors reached the second highest on record although October this year had 4.5 fewer working days compared to a year earlier, according to the Ministry’s analysis of preliminary customs data.
The average daily exports soared 33.9 percent to $2.5 billion, showing that fewer working days led to the slower monthly growth. Won-denominated exports increased 7.7 percent to 50.9 trillion won.
Export prices advanced for 11 consecutive months, while export volume declined.
Imports increased 7.4 percent to $37.7 billion year-on-year, marking the 12th straight month of growth. Inbound shipments of semiconductor manufacturing machines, crude oil, and bituminous coals steely expanded.
Trade surplus stood at $7.3 billion, making Korea a net exporter for 69 consecutive months.
Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Paik Ungyu said, “Korea’s annual exports are expected to reach a $1 trillion-mark in mid December for the first time in three years since 2014.”
“In order to improve the balance in contribution to exports from other sectors than semiconductors, the Ministry will promote value-addition diversification of products as well as expansion to emerging markets. This will help strength our export ecosystem,” the Minister added.
The Ministry forecasts a favorable trade environment to continue but uncertainties to increase amid rising protectionism, geopolitical risks, and shifts in monetary policies of the U.S.
While exports expanded at a single-digit rate in October, Korea’s world-leading sectors showed strong performance.
Semiconductor exports soared 69.6 percent to $9.5 billion, the second highest on record, on stable prices of memory chips and high demand for newly launched mobile phones. They grew at a double-digit rate for the 13th straight month.
Exports of ships spiked 36 percent to $3.5 billion as a total of 15 ships including a high-value floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit and two liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers passed through customs.
Higher prices drove up outbound shipments of petroleum products by 10.3 percent to $2.5 billion.
Exports of petrochemicals, steel, displays, and computers and peripheral devices also increased from a year earlier.
Within major export product categories, outbound shipments of high-value, high-tech products, which the Ministry separately keeps tracking of, were exceptionally strong.
Exports of multi-chip packages (MCPs) leaped 86.9 percent to a record $2.7 billion, and those of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays soared 72.4 percent to a record $1.1 billion as well. Outbound shipments of solid-state drives (SSDs) jumped 26.9 percent to $519 million, the third highest on record. For more than a year, exports of the three product groups expanded at double-digit rate every month.
By region, exports to Vietnam, other Southeast Asian nations, China, and the European Union (EU) grew.
Exports to Vietnam went up 33.8 percent to $3.9 billion with shipments of displays and semiconductors to Korean companies’ manufacturing bases in the country increased. For similar reasons, shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region surged 17.4 percent to $7.4 billion, marking the 12th consecutive month of double-digit expansion.
Shipments to China jumped 13.5 percent to $12.6 billion on strong demand of memory chips for smartphones and data centers. Those to the EU advanced 2.7 percent to $4 billion amid the recovery of the region’s economy.
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