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Parts and materials technology development
Materials, components exports grow 13.6 percent to $237.9 billion in Q1 - Q3 2018-10-19

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on October 18 that exports of 11 types of industrial materials and components in the first three quarters of this year went up 13.6 percent year-on-year to $237.9 billion.
Imports also rose 5.1 percent to $131.8 billion and the trade surplus stood at $106.1 billion, surpassing the $100 billion mark for the first time for materials and components.

By type, electronic components accounted for 44.0 percent of the total exports. The other two types that led outbound shipments were chemical products and primary metals, each representing 15.8 percent and 9.0 percent.

Exports of electronic components rose 24.7 percent to $104.6 billion, thanks to greater demand for memory semiconductors caused by expansion of cloud services and launch of new smartphone models.

Those of chemical products surged 13.3 percent to $37.5 billion on higher product prices due to rising oil prices. Increased demand for intermediate materials, such as synthetic resin, also contributed to this growth.

The value of primary metals shipped overseas went up 12.6 percent to $21.4 billion because of increasing steel product prices and the robust construction industry in major economies.

By export destination, outbound shipments to China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Europe, and the U.S. increased while those to Central and South America and the Middle East decreased.

Exports to China advanced 20.0 percent to $76.3 billion. Consistent demand for memory chips and increased sales of non-ferrous metals, such as copper, used in electric vehicles were responsible for this growth.

Those to Europe saw an increase of 14.8 percent to $27.9 billion on account of more shipments of generic drugs and electronic components such as memory semiconductors and solid-state drives (SSDs).

Outbound shipments to the U.S. gained 9.5 percent to $23.6 billion on increased demand for memory chips used in cloud servers and higher prices for steel products.

Industrial materials and components shipped to ASEAN climbed 3.0 percent to $38.8 billion. More shipments of steel products for infrastructure construction and greater exports of semiconductors resulted in the expansion. Among ASEAN countries, exports to Vietnam inched down 2.2 percent to $19.4 billion because the expansion of Korean companies in the Southeast Asian country led to increased local procurement of electronic components.

A breakdown of imports showed that chemical products and general machinery components drove growth. This was despite decreases in inbound shipments of primary metals and transport machinery components.

The value of chemical products shipped to Korea went up 13.5 percent to $23.4 billion because higher oil prices pushed up the unit price of chemical products.

Inbound shipments of general machinery components improved 9.6 percent to $15.1 billion. The strength of the semiconductor industry and the expansion of domestic facility investment caused a larger purchase of components related to manufacturing equipments.

Imports of electronic components rose 7.8 percent to $44.6 billion on growing demand for high-capacity, high-performance SSDs and other devices that are needed in the development of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, such as artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.

By region, imports from China, ASEAN, Europe, and the U.S. expanded while those from Japan, Central and South America, and the Middle East contracted.

Industrial materials and parts shipped from China climbed 10.6 percent to $40.4 billion mainly because of greater imports of electronic components, such as SSDs and semiconductors.

Imports from ASEAN went up 10.7 percent to $15.4 billion as a result of newly launched smartphones that require flat panel displays and other electronic parts.

Inbound shipments from the Middle East, on the other hand, decreased 39.7 percent to $1.7 billion due to lower demand for jewelry materials.

During the third quarter itself, exports of materials and components posted an all-time high of $82.8 billion. The trade surplus also achieved $39.1 billion, breaking the previous record of $36.4 billion in the second quarter of this year.

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