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Korea’s November exports continue to stay above $50 billion 2018-12-03

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 1 that Korea’s exports in November rose 4.5 percent to USD 51.9 billion from the same period of last year, exceeding $50 billion for seven straight months for the first time.
This is also the first time the country has seen an export value that is greater than $50 billion for any November exports. Average daily exports also increased 4.5 percent to $2.2 billion, which is the largest among any November export value. Won-denominated exports expanded 6.7 percent to 58.6 trillion won.

The factors that helped the growth of Korea’s November exports include the robust manufacturing economy across the globe, sustained GDP growth in major economies, and rising prices of major export items.

Imports grew 11.4 percent to $46.8 billion, advancing for two consecutive months. This growth was led by crude oil, liquefied natural gas, diesel vehicles, and pharmaceuticals. Korea stayed as a net exporter for 82 straight months with a trade surplus of $5.1 billion.

Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yunmo stated that this year’s Korean exports appear to top $600 billion for the first time ever, solidifying its position as the world’s sixth largest exporter. He added that the role of exports is significant because they underpin the country’s economy.

According to Minister Sung, the Ministry will actively respond to downward risks, including the U.S.-China trade standoff and rising global trade protectionism. At the same time, it will also put more effort into advancing export structures and diversifying export markets and items.

A breakdown of exports shows that six out of Korea’s 13 major export items posted growth. They are semiconductors, general machinery, petrochemicals, petroleum products, steel, and ships. Among them, semiconductors, petroleum products, and ships increased at double-digit rates.

General machinery exports inched up 0.8 percent to $4.7 billion, exceeding $4 billion for nine straight months for the first time.

Semiconductor exports rose 11.6 percent to $10.7 billion, surpassing $10 billion for seven months in a row.

Ship exports soared 158.4 percent to $2.1 billion, returning to growth after nine months of contraction.

Outbound shipments of petrochemicals climbed 3.8 percent to $4.0 billion, staying above $4 billion for 12 consecutive months for the first time.

Exports of petroleum products jumped 23.5 percent to $4.2 billion, topping $3 billion for 13 straight months.

Among outbound shipments of high-value, high-tech products that the Ministry separately keeps track of, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) continued their growth, up 12.9 percent to 1 billion.

By region, exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S., the EU, Japan, Vietnam, India, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) increased. Particularly, those to ASEAN, the CIS, the EU, and India grew at double-digit rates.

Outbound shipments to ASEAN rose 13.0 percent to a record $9.4 billion due to robust sales of semiconductors, petroleum products, and displays.

Korean goods shipped to the CIS jumped 46.2 percent to $1.1 billion, posting the fifth straight year-on-year monthly growth.

Exports to the U.S. increased 7.9 percent to $6.9 billion, growing for two consecutive months.

Combined exports to India, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil also grew 7.1 percent on the back of general machinery, automobiles, and petrochemicals, indicating improvement in export market diversification.

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