The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 14 that exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods jumped 25.9 percent to USD 18.6 billion, the second highest on record, in November from a year earlier on strong demand for semiconductors.
Exports of ICT goods increased at double-digit rates for 12 consecutive months, and reached a record-high for each respective month for 10 straight months.
Imports surged 17.1 percent year-on-year to $9.5 billion, and trade surplus in this sector stood at $9.1 billion.
The double-digit growth in ICT exports was led by a 68.5-percent increase in outbound shipments of semiconductors, which reached $9.8 billion in November. Monthly semiconductor exports exceeded $9 billion for the third consecutive month on growing demand for servers and mobile devices as well as rising prices of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips.
Exports of computers and peripheral devices also contributed to the growth, surging 19.8 percent to $908 million. Overseas shipments of computers soared 51.5 percent to $105 million, and those of solid-state drives jumped 38.2 percent to a record $542 million.
Display exports inched up 1 percent to $2.6 billion on robust demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, marking the 13th consecutive month of growth.
Meanwhile, outbound shipments of mobile phones and parts contracted 21.3 percent to $1.9 billion as Korean handset companies increasingly procure parts from overseas markets where they manufacture. Exports of mobile phones expanded on strong sales of premium smartphones.
A breakdown of ICT exports by region showed that shipments to Vietnam leaped 72.8 percent to $2.4 billion as semiconductor exports more than doubled and display exports tripled.
Shipments to China including Hong Kong surged 28.2 percent to an all-time high of $10.3 billion on an 83.2-percent increase in semiconductor exports worth $6.9 billion. They reached a new record for four consecutive months.
Exports to the U.S. and the European Union (EU) rose by 23.4 percent to $1.8 billion and by 20.4 percent to $922 million on higher sales of mobiles phones and semiconductors.
In terms of imports, Korea shipped in more mobile phones, computers, semiconductors, and displays compared to a year earlier.
Imports of mobile phones and parts jumped 24.8 percent to $1.6 billion on a 67.2-percent growth in purchases of handsets from overseas. Inbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices expanded 21.2 percent to $1 billion with those of secondary storage up 91.2 percent to around $240 million.
Imports of semiconductors and displays grew 16.7 percent to $3.7 billion and 5.6 percent to $464 million, respectively.
By region, Korea imported ICT goods worth $683 million from Vietnam – up 40.8 percent from a year ago – with much of the growth coming from a 44.7-percent increase in mobile phone shipments worth about $410 million.
Imports from China climbed 10.4 percent to $3.8 billion on more purchases of mobile phones, and computers and peripheral devices. Those from Japan and the U.S. advanced 4 percent to $1 billion and 1.7 percent to $682 million, respectively.
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