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Korea’s March exports advance 16.6% to $53.8 billion 2021-04-01

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on April 1 that Korea’s exports in March increased 16.6 percent to USD 53.8 billion. Imports grew 18.8 percent to $49.7 billion.

The trade balance stood at a surplus of $4.2 billion, remaining positive for 11 straight months. The average daily exports went up 16.6 percent to $2.2 billion, hitting the record high value for the month of March in history.

Exports posted growth for the fifth consecutive month, and the export value exceeded $50.0 billion for the first time in 2021. Exports for March also recorded the third largest value in history.

Among Korea’s 20 major export items, all items experienced growth except for displays. Outbound shipments of the following items expanded: semiconductors, general machinery, petrochemicals, automobiles, steel products, petroleum products, ships, auto parts, bio-health products, wireless communication devices, computers, textiles, plastic products, agricultural products and fisheries, fine chemical materials, cosmetics, secondary batteries, home appliances, and robots.

Exports of petrochemicals jumped 48.5 percent to $4.8 billion as global oil prices rebounded. Moreover, synthetic resins used in packaging materials and home appliances and synthetic rubber used in medical products rose in demand. Exports of petrochemicals recorded the highest export value on record.

Petroleum products posted year-on-year growth for the first time in 27 months and went up 18.3 percent to $2.7 billion. The export volume went down, but rising oil prices led to an upturn in petroleum exports.

Shipments of bio-health products saw increases for 19 straight months and gained 43.6 percent to $1.5 billion. This was mainly attributable to the expansion of the biosimilar market and robust demand for Korea’s COVID-19 diagnostic kits.

Meanwhile, those of displays edged down 1.1 percent to $1.4 billion despite increases in the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel demand. Production of liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels contracted.

By region, outbound shipments to China, the United States (U.S.) the European Union (EU), ASEAN, Central and South America, India, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) went up, while those to Japan and the Middle East moved down.

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