The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 1 that Korea’s exports in November grew 9.6 percent to USD 50 billion, a record for the month.
Exports of goods rose for the 13th consecutive month for the first time in 71 months since December 2011. The average daily exports of goods rose by 9.6 percent to $2.1 billion. Won-denominated exports increased 4.3 percent to 54.9 trillion won.
The total exports between January and November reached an all-time high of $524.8 billion. The annual exports surpassed the $500 billion mark within the shortest period of time on November 17.
Imports jumped 12.3 percent to $41.8 billion, and trade surplus came to $7.8 billion, making Korea a net exporter for 70 consecutive months.
Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Paik Ungyu noted that Korea’s trade volume – both exports and imports – is expected to surpass $1 trillion by mid-December.
“The value created by exports in the first three quarters of 2017 represented more than 70 percent of the growth in gross domestic product. Exports have been the driving force of the national economic growth,” said Minister Paik.
“Exports also hugely contributed to employment with the number of jobs exports helped create in the first three quarters rising by some 340,000 compared to the same period of 2016.”
A breakdown of customs data shows that nine of Korea’s 13 major export product categories showed growths in outbound shipments. They are semiconductors, petroleum products, general machinery, computers and peripheral devices, petrochemicals, steel, automobiles, textile, and displays. Exports of the first five categories expanded at double-digit rates.
Semiconductor exports soared 65.2 percent to $9.6 billion, the second highest on record, on higher prices amid the launch of new smartphones and strong demand of memory chips for data centers. Their growth rate surpassed 50 percent for eight consecutive months between April and November. Annual exports in this segment are expected to surpass $90 billion this year.
Outbound shipments of petroleum products jumped 38.4 percent to $3.3 billion on higher prices boosted by rising oil prices as well as growing demand amid the recovery of the global economy.
Exports of general machinery rose by 19.6 percent to $4.6 billion on the increase in investments into facilities in major economies.
Meanwhile, exports of automobile parts, wireless communication devices, home appliance, and ships declined.
Within the major export product categories, outbound shipments of certain high-value, high-tech products rose to records. Exports of multi-chip packages (MCPs) leaped 57.3 percent to an all-time high of $2.7 billion, and those of solid-state drives (SSDs) surged 38.2 percent to a record $542 million.
The Ministry also keeps tracking of five promising consumer goods for exports including medicine and medical supplies, cosmetics, agricultural products, household goods, and clothing. Outbound shipments of medicine and medical supplies rose by 53.3 percent to $367 million with shipments to the U.S. more than tripling. Cosmetic exports advanced 34.2 percent to $503 million on robust sales in China and Southeast Asia.
Exports of goods to all regions except the Middle East increased with shipments to China, Korea’s largest trading partner, growing to a record-high.
Shipments to Vietnam leaped 46.1 percent to $4.4 billion with exports of displays, semiconductors, and general machinery to Korean companies’ manufacturing bases in the Southeast Asian country expanded. Shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region including Vietnam increased 13.4 percent to $8.3 billion, marking the 13th straight month of a double-digit growth.
Exports to China jumped 20.5 percent to a record $14 billion, marking the 13th consecutive month of growth. This was led by strong sales of semiconductors, general machinery, and petroleum products.
Exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S., and Japan also grew at double-digit rates.
Imports rose for the 13th consecutive month as inbound shipments of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, crude oil, and bituminous coal steeply rose.
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