The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on August 9 that exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods jumped 20.9 percent to $15.7 billion in July, setting a new record for the month.
Korea has posted record-high exports for each month for six consecutive months since February. A significant expansion in semiconductor exports as well as double-digit increases in shipments to major markets including China, Vietnam, the U.S., and the European Union (EU) drove the growth.
Imports in the ICT sector rose 15.2 percent year-on-year to $8.3 billion, and trade surplus came to $7.4 billion, according to the Ministry’s analysis of customs data.
A breakdown of ICT exports showed that semiconductors remained Korea’s top exported goods. Semiconductor exports soared 60.8 percent to $8 billion on higher demand for servers and mobile devices and rising prices of dynamic random access memory (DRAMs) chips. They surpassed $8 billion for two straight months.
Outbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices jumped 12.3 percent to $842 million, driven by record-high overseas sales of solid-state drives, which leaped 79.3 percent to $516 million. Display exports advanced 5.1 percent to $2.4 billion on stable liquid crystal display (LCD) prices and strong sales of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Meanwhile, exports of mobile phones and parts fell 31.5 percent to $1.3 billion despite more shipments of handsets to the U.S. as Korean companies increasingly purchase parts within the markets they operate their manufacturing bases.
By region, Vietnam imported Korean ICT goods worth $2 billion -- up 44.6 percent from a year earlier -- as purchases of semiconductors more than doubled to around $760 million and those of displays leaped 153.9 percent to $610 million. Shipments to the U.S. rose by 21.6 percent to $1.4 billion on robust sales of mobile phones and computer parts.
Exports to China including Hong Kong surged 19.6 percent to $8.1 billion, marking the eighth consecutive month of growth. This was led by a 63.6-percent increase in semiconductor exports that reached $5.2 billion. Those to the EU increased 13.3 percent to $869 million.
Imports in all major ICT product categories grew. Inbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices soared 36.5 percent to $1.1 billion, and those of displays surged 25.6 percent to $491 million. Inbound shipments of mobile phones including parts and semiconductors expanded 14.3 percent to $823 million and 12.3 percent to $3.4 billion, respectively.
Imports from Vietnam leaped 42.7 percent to $565 million on more purchases of products manufactured by Korean companies in the country. Korea imported ICT goods worth $3 billion from China including Hong Kong – up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, while inbound shipments from the U.S. and Japan went up 6.1 percent to $678 million and 2.7 percent to $901 million, respectively.
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