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Korea's ICT exports shrink 0.7% in July, but still achieve trade surplus 2022-08-11

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on August 11 that exports of Korea’s information and communications technology (ICT) goods decreased 0.7 percent to USD 19.3 billion in July.
Imports gained 16.8 percent to $13.2 billion, but ICT trade still achieved a trade surplus of $6.1 billion despite less operating days (one less) in comparison with those of 2021. Average daily ICT exports advanced to a record-breaking $820 million.

ICT exports performance of small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and middle-market companies showed double-digit growth (up 19.5 percent to $5.6 billion) for the 21st consecutive month, powered by semiconductors, computers and peripherals.

For overall ICT exports by item, semiconductors reached highest ever July exports with $11.4 billion (up 3.1 percent), surpassing $10 billion for the 15th consecutive month, and posting positive growth for the 25th consecutive month. System chips (up 40.4 percent to $4.7 billion) were major drivers, as robust demand continued amid digital conversion trends, whereas memory chips (down 13.5 percent to $6.2 billion) fell for the first time in 23 months due to decreased demand of downstream industries.

For displays (down 4.7 percent to $2.0 billion) exports, LCDs (down 8.6 percent to $480 million) suffered from domestic production declines, while OLED panels (up 2.7 percent to $1.3 billion) expanded on the backs of Vietnam’s demand for mobile phone materials prior to new smartphone release.

Mobile phone exports shrank 29.2 percent to $680 million as demand for IT devices dropped and major manufacturers scaled down production volumes. Finished products flourished in European markets (up 336 percent to $140 million), but shipments to non-EU regions decreased (down 55.2 percent to $160 million).

Computers and peripherals (down 21.9 percent to $1.2 billion) switched to negative growth for the first time in 17 months as demand for both electronic devices and computer parts dropped. Shipments to EU (up 22.9 percent to $180 million) and Vietnam (up 259.3 percent to $40 million) soared, but those to China and Hong Kong (down 39.3 percent to $0.3 billion) and the U.S. (down 11.4 percent to $490 million) fell.

By destination, ICT exports to Vietnam (up 5.7 percent to $3.1 billion) and EU (up 12.9 percent to $1.1 billion) rose, while those to China (down 8.2 percent to $8.4 billion), U.S. (down 9.2 percent to $2.4 billion) and Japan (down 5.4 percent to $340 million) dropped.

July ICT imports were led by semiconductors (up 25.0 percent to $6.7 billion), computers and peripherals (up 12.9 percent to $1.5 billion) and displays (up 41.8 percent to $460 million), while mobile phones (down 23.7 percent to $550 million) decreased.

By region, imports from Taiwan (up 29.0 percent to $2.1 billion), Japan (up 25.0 percent to $1.2 billion) and Vietnam (up 11.5 percent to $1.0 billion) expanded, while those from China and Hong Kong (down 3.0 percent to $4.7 billion), and the U.S. (down 1.4 percent to $0.7 billion) contracted.