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Korea’s November exports grow 4.0% to $45.8 billion 2020-12-01

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on November 1 that Korea’s exports in November increased 4.0 percent from a year earlier to USD 45.8 billion. Imports edged down 2.1 percent to $39.9 billion.

The trade balance stood at a surplus of $5.9 billion, moving up for 7 straight months. It is the third consecutive month that the trade balance recorded more than $5.0 billion.

November exports showed that the economic recovery is gaining momentum. The export growth remained positive for two months in a row despite 0.5 fewer working days in November. The average daily exports rose 6.3 percent, marking the first time since November 2018 that both the export value and the average daily exports posted increases.

Information technology (IT) related products showed strong demand with the contact-free economy on the rise. Also, high-value added products such as organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, electric vehicles (EVs), multi-chip packages (MCP), and medical devices led the upward trend in exports.

Among Korea’s 20 major export items, outbound shipments of 15 items saw growth. They are semiconductors, automobiles, displays, auto parts, bio-health products, wireless communication devices, ships, computers, plastic products, agricultural products and fisheries, cosmetics, fine chemical materials, secondary batteries, home appliances, and robots. Those of the remaining 5 items saw decreases: general machinery, petrochemicals, steel products, petroleum products, and textiles.

Semiconductor exports increased 16.4 percent to $8.6 billion primarily because of newly launched mobile products and a recovery in the mobile demand leading to increased sales of mobile parts. Semiconductors experienced a sales growth for five consecutive months.

Outbound shipments of automobiles inched up 2.1 percent to $4.0 billion. The resurgence of COVID-19 cases raised concerns for a slowdown in automobiles, but the demand for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and eco-friendly vehicles led to the rise in exports.

Those of bio-health products leaped 78.5 percent to $1.5 billion and posted increase for the 15th consecutive month. The global demand for COVID-19 diagnostic kits is robust, and Korean biosimilar products in the overseas markets show strong demand as well.

Meanwhile, exports of general machinery went down 7.0 percent to $4.3 billion. Exports to China are showing signs of recovery due to its investment in the infrastructure, but the slowdown in the Japanese manufacturing industry led to a reduction of machinery contracts.

Those of textiles also fell 6.3 percent to $1.0 billion. While textile exports related to quarantine products such as face masks and filters are on the rise, concerns over shutdowns of clothing and retail stores amid virus resurgence led to inventory adjustments at overseas markets.
By region, outbound shipments to China, the U.S., ASEAN, the European Union, India, and Central and South America increased while those to the Middle East, Japan, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) decreased.

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