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Korea's exports rise 6.6% in August 2022-09-01

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on September 1 that Korea’s exports in August saw a year-on-year expansion of 6.6 percent and recorded USD 56.7 billion, hitting the highest value for the month of August in history.

Imports jumped 28.2 percent to $66.2 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $9.5 billion. Total trade volume achieved highest ever $960.3 billion.

Despite protracted Russia-Ukraine war and tighter monetary policies of major countries, exports posted growth for 22 consecutive months. Daily exports amounted to $2.4 billion, which is 2.2 percent higher compared to those of last year.

Out of 15 major items, six items saw exports increase, including petroleum products, cars and steel.

Semiconductors maintained exports over $10 billion for 16 consecutive months, but growth rate shrank for the first time in 26 months due to consumers’ lower purchasing power and excessive stock.

Wireless communication devices (down 20.7 percent to $1.3 billion) saw shipments to core markets (China, ASEAN) decrease as global economy contracted and demand for smartphones declined.

Displays (down 5.7 percent to $1.8 billion) also contracted as prices are expected to continue downward from OLED panels’ heightened productivity and lower LCD production. Weaker downstream industries are also impacting exports.

Computers (down 30.0 percent to $1.2 billion) suffered uncertainties from investment delays and inflation, coupled with sluggish demand for electronic devices.

For automobiles, finished cars (up 35.9 percent to $4.1 billion) exports flourished, led by strong demand from the U.S., thanks to improved semiconductor supply and growing eco-friendly market, reaching historic monthly figures for August. Car parts (up 14.5 percent to $1.8 billion) also posted growth due to wider production of finished cars in major markets, regardless of dampened consumer sentiment from extension of war and recent inflation rate hike.

Petroleum products (up 113.6 percent to $6.6 billion) surpassed the $6 billion mark for two consecutive months on the backs of high unit prices of oil and intensifying worldwide demand, especially for aircraft fuel.

Steel exports (up 2.8 percent) enjoyed increasing demand across ASEAN, U.S., Japan and also China, breaking August monthly exports with $3.2 billion.

Secondary batteries (up 35.7 percent to $0.9 billion) exports jumped as demand for EVs continued to rise.

In spite of growing demand for biosimilars, bio health exports dropped (down 0.02 percent) due to the declining demand for COVID test kits.

System semiconductors (up 31.0 percent to $4.7 billion) and EVs (up 29.2 percent to $0.7 billion) advanced, while SSD (down 28.2 percent to $970 million) and OLED panels (down 8.7 percent to $1.3 billion) fell.

By destination, shipments to the U.S. (up 13.7 percent to $8.8 billion), ASEAN (up 21.7 percent to $10.9 billion), EU (up 7.3 percent to $5.4 billion), Japan (up 2.2 percent to $2.6 billion), India (up 27.1 percent to $1.6 billion) and GCC (up 7.8 percent to $1.3 billion) increased, whereas those to China (down 5.4 percent to 13.1 billion), Latin America (down 4.1 percent to $2.2 billion) and CIS (down 10.6 percent to $0.9 billion) decreased.

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