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ICT exports continue to show double-digit growth in May 2018-06-18

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 18 that exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods marked their fourth-highest monthly figure of USD 18.6 billion in May.

Exports of ICT goods were up 20.6 percent compared to a year earlier, achieving double-digit year-on-year growth for the 18th consecutive month, since December 2016.

ICT imports also jumped 9.0 percent year-on-year to $8.7 billion, and the trade surplus in this sector stood at $9.8 billion.

The continued double-digit increase in ICT exports was led by semiconductors and computers and peripheral devices.

Semiconductor exports posted growth for 20 months in a row and registered their second highest figure ever, of $11.0 billion, up 43.5 percent compared to last May. This is the second time for a single Korean export item to surpass a monthly export value of $10 billion. Outbound shipments of memory semiconductors increased 67.7 percent to $8.2 billion due to continued strength in demand for servers and smartphones.

Exports of computers and peripheral devices rose 28.6 percent to $950 million from a year earlier. Exports of solid-state devices (SSDs) stayed particularly strong, growing 12.5 percent to $490 million.

Exports of mobile phones and parts expanded 4.5 percent from a year earlier to $1.4 billion. This is primarily due to a decrease in new smartphone launches and in mobile phone parts exports (down 24.7 percent to $720 million), which resulted from expanded production at Korean factories overseas and increased local procurement of parts in export destinations.

Exports of displays saw a year-on-year decrease of 18.0 percent to $2.1 billion. Escalating competition in the liquid-crystal display (LCD) market and slowing demand for OLEDs was largely responsible for this decline.

By region, ICT goods exports to China (including Hong Kong) rose 32.7 percent year-on-year to $10.4 billion, hitting a new high. The growth was led by a 53.5 percent increase in exports of semiconductors, as well as a 60 percent growth in computers and peripheral devices.

Shipments to Vietnam decreased 13.0 percent to $1.9 billion despite strong performance of semiconductor exports, as display and mobile phone exports dropped down 26.8 percent and 27.9 percent, respectively.

Exports to the U.S. saw a 32.2 percent growth to $1.8 billion, mostly due to mobile phones (up 75.6 percent to $560 million) and semiconductors (up 33.3 percent to $490 million).

Exports to the EU grew 28.4 percent to $1.0 billion, growing for seven consecutive months. Shipments of semiconductors increased 61.8 percent to $220 million, and those of computers and peripheral devices grew 34.0 percent to $110 million.

A breakdown of ICT imports showed that inbound shipments of system semiconductors increased 6.4 percent year-on-year to $1.9 billion and those of computers and peripheral devices surged 37.5 percent to $1.1 billion. Imports of displays also advanced 3.0 percent to $610 million. Those of mobile phones and parts inched up 1.4 percent to $770 million.

ICT imports from China (including Hong Kong) rose 6.2 percent to $3.3 billion and those from Vietnam increased 20.8 percent to $720 million. Meanwhile, inbound shipments from the U.S. contracted 1.5 percent to $770 million and those from Japan decreased 6.3 percent to $800 million.

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