The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 14 that exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods surged 17.4 percent year-on-year to USD 15.4 billion in May, a new record for the month.
Exports in the ICT sector, which broke the previous record of $15.3 billion, set in May 2013, advanced for seven consecutive months and at double-digit rates for six straight months as outbound shipments of semiconductors rose sharply.
Imports of ICT goods grew 13.4 percent to $8 billion. Surplus in this segment came to $7.4 billion, while Korea’s total trade surplus stood at $6 billion.
The growth of ICT exports was led by higher sales of semiconductors, displays, and computers and peripheral devices as well as more shipments to the major markets including China and Vietnam.
Outbound shipments of semiconductors soared 56 percent to a record $7.6 billion as exports of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips and system semiconductors leaped 67.4 percent to $2.4 billion and 42.1 percent to $2.2 billion, respectively, reaching new records for the month of May.
Display exports expanded 7.6 percent to $2.4 billion, marking the seven consecutive month of growth. This was led by the increase in prices of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and the continuously growing demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Exports of computers and peripheral devices jumped 21.5 percent to $714 million on a 74.7-percent growth in the overseas sales of solid-state drives that reached $436 million. They expanded for 12 straight months and at a double digit rate for two consecutive months.
Outbound shipments of mobile phones and parts contracted 43.4 percent to $1.4 billion as Korean manufacturers produced a larger portion of handsets at their overseas plants and procured more parts locally.
Korea’s ICT sector continued to export more goods to China including Hong Kong for six consecutive months. Outbound shipments of ICT goods to China surged 15.7 percent to $7.8 billion with those of semiconductors leaping 61 percent to $4.9 billion.
Exports to Vietnam also soared 79.9 percent to $2.2 billion, marking the third straight month of shipments exceeding $2 billion. Shipments of semiconductors and displays to the Southeast Asian nation grew 144.3 percent to around $810 million and 185.2 percent to $630 million, respectively.
Shipments to the European Union advanced 6.5 percent to $788 million, marking the six consecutive month of growth, while exports to the U.S. contracted 17.9 percent to $1.4 billion.
A breakdown of ICT imports showed that purchases of semiconductors increased 11.6 percent to $3.3 billion, while those of displays and computers and peripheral devices jumped 56.7 percent to $573 million and 16.7 percent to $787 million, respectively. Imports of mobile phones and parts declined 8.8 percent to $761 million.
By region, shipments of ICT goods from Vietnam surged 28.3 percent to $551 million, and those from the U.S. grew 7.8 percent to $720 million. Imports from China and Japan inched down 0.9 percent to $2.7 billion and 1.3 percent to $838 million, respectively.
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