The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on February 12 that Korea exported USD 13.4 billion worth of information and communications technology (ICT) goods in January. ICT imports totaled $8.8 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.6 billion.ICT exports fell 7.2 percent from a year earlier due to decreasing shipments of semiconductors (down 3.3 percent), displays (down 21.3 percent), and mobile phones (down 28.0 percent).
By item, semiconductor exports dropped 3.3 percent year-on-year to $7.3 billion. The decline in exports slowed down as NAND flash memory chips jumped 36.9 percent and system chips increased 16.2 percent.
Display shipments slid 21.3 percent to $1.6 billion. Demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels increased slightly, but exports of liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels continued to fall.
Exports of mobile phones decreased 28.0 percent to $680 million. Exports of both parts and finished products contracted.
Shipments of computers and peripheral devices leaped 42.7 percent to $970 million as sales greatly improved for peripherals (up 70.9 percent to $840 million). Among peripherals, sales of solid state drives (SSDs) were particularly strong, jumping 133.8 percent to $690 million.
Regionally, exports to China decreased 7.8 percent to $6.0 billion. Shipments of semiconductors inched up 0.3 percent to $4.2 billion and computers and peripherals went up 11.7 percent to $340 million, but displays fell 31.2 percent to $700 million.
Exports bound for Vietnam grew 2.0 percent to $2.5 billion. While displays fell 0.5 percent to $740 million, semiconductors and mobile phones increased 1.0 percent to $1.1 billion and 14.7 percent to $240 million, respectively.
Exports to the U.S. went up 5.5 percent to $1.5 billion because of chips (up 17.1 percent to $600 million) and computers and peripherals (up 164.4 percent to $340 million).
ICT goods shipped to the EU shrank 12.3 percent to $860 million as chip exports sank 23.7 percent to $160 million and secondary batteries went down 6.8 percent to $240 million. Growth was seen in exports of mobile phones (up 6.8 percent to $50 million).
Shipments to Japan dropped 7.3 percent to $330 million with falling shipments of semiconductors (down 11.9 percent to $80 million) and displays (down 37.3 percent to $20 million). Meanwhile, secondary batteries increased 13.2 percent to $30 million.
Overall ICT imports also fell 6.2 percent compared to a year earlier and posted $8.8 billion. All four item categories experienced decreases: chips (down 1.5 percent to $3.8 billion), displays (down 18.3 percent to $300 million), computers and peripherals (down 3.8 percent to $1.2 billion), and mobile phones (down 17.2 percent to $780 million).
By destination, declines were seen in all four regions: China (down 25.1 percent to $3.2 billion), Japan (down 15.2 percent to $680 million), Vietnam (down 12.4 percent to $800 million), and the U.S. (down 2.8 percent to $670 million).