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Korea's ICT exports hit all-time highs in April, expanding 16.9% 2022-05-13

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 12 that Korea’s exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products in April advanced 16.9 percent to USD 19.9 billion, hitting record highs in both monthly and accumulated value.

Imports expanded 12.4 percent to $12.1 billion, and the trade balance stood at a surplus of $7.8 billion despite external uncertainties, including the Russia-Ukraine situation and China’s lockdowns.

Outbound shipments of all major items achieved growth.

Exports of chips increased 16.0 percent to $10.9 billion, rising for 22 months straight. Memory chips (up 7.7 percent to $6.4 billion) enjoyed growth spilling over from downstream industries like datacenters and mobile. System chips (up 36.5 percent to $4.0 billion) crossed the $4 billion thresholds for two consecutive months as foundry market demand persisted.

Those of displays gained 22.5 percent to $2.1 billion, led by organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) (up 38.8 percent to $1.2 billion) exports, which thrived from OLED manufacturing process innovations. Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) also increased (up 5.4 percent to $0.5 billion), but unit prices for TVs, monitors, and laptops continue their descent.

The value of mobile phones shipped overseas grew by 0.6 percent to $1.2 billion. Finished products (down 0.6 percent to $0.6 billion) shrank from lesser demand for existing smart phones, while parts (up 1.6 percent to $0.7 billion) continued to advance with robust demand for high value-added parts from China.

Shipments of computers and peripheral devices jumped 58.0 percent to $1.8 billion on the backs of increases in peripherals (up 75.6 percent to $1.7 billion), eclipsing the continued drop in computers (down 44.8 percent to $90 million) amid forecast for faltering demand for tablet PCs worldwide.

By region, ICT exports to China recorded $8.4 billion, up 4.1 percent from the same period last year. This was attributable to greater demand for chips, displays, and mobile phones, and peripherals. China takes up 42 percent of Korea’s total ICT exports.

Exports to Vietnam reached $3.0 billion, rising 25.8 percent from last year. Semiconductors (up 34.2 percent to $1.3 billion) and displays (up 45.1 percent to $1.0 billion) contributed to the growth, whereas mobile phones (down 61.3 percent to $900 million) experienced a dip.

Exports to the U.S. (up 25.9 percent to $2.7 billion) were driven by semiconductors (up 22.9 percent to $0.8 billion), computers and peripherals (up 92.1 percent to $0.7 billion), and secondary batteries (up 47.8 percent to $0.3 billion).

Those to the EU climbed 23.2 percent to $1.3 billion, owing to mobile phones (up 100.6 percent to $0.4 billion), computers and peripherals (up 61.6 percent to $0.2 billion), and semiconductors (up 3.6 percent to $0.2 billion).

Shipments to Japan shot up 15.5 percent to $0.4 billion, centering on semiconductors (up 10.2 percent to $0.1 billion) and computers and peripherals (up 130.1 percent to $70 million).

April ICT imports by major item saw increases in chips (up 21.4 percent to $5.7 billion), computers and peripherals (up 7.3 percent to $1.5 billion), and displays (up 49.6 percent to $0.5 billion), while mobile phones (down 23.8 percent to $0.6 billion) decreased.

By region, ICT imports from Taiwan (up 27.3 percent to $1.8 billion) and Vietnam (up 0.7 percent to $1.1 billion) increased, while greater sources like China (down 0.5 percent to $4.5 billion), Japan (down 1.6 percent to 980 million), and U.S. (down 7.0 percent to $0.7 billion) declined.