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Korea’s November exports hit $60 billion for first time in history 2021-12-01

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 1 that Korea’s exports increased 32.1 percent year-on-year to USD 60.4 billion. Imports jumped 43.6 percent to $57.4 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $3.1 billion.

Exports advanced for 13 straight months and exceeded $60 billion for the first time on record in November.

Average daily exports posted a 26.6 percent increase to $2.5 billion. The export volume also gained 8.2 percent.

The monthly export value recorded more than $55.0 billion since July, and cumulative exports from January to November amounted to $583.8 billion, highest on record.

Among Korea’s 20 major export items, 17 saw improvement: semiconductors, petrochemicals, general machinery, automobiles, petroleum products, steel products, ships, displays, computers, wireless communication devices, textiles, agricultural products and fisheries, fine chemical materials, plastic products, cosmetics, home appliances and secondary batteries. The remaining three items experienced decreases: auto parts, bio-health products and robots.

Chip exports climbed up 40.1 percent to $12.0 billion and recorded growth for 17 consecutive months despite slight decreases in DRAM prices. Increased mobile demand as well as improved prices in the foundry sector contributed to the expansion.

Petroleum products spiked 125.5 percent to $4.0 billion. Oil prices saw declines due to the release of oil reserves and the Omicron variant of COVID-19, but the global energy demand exhibited trends of recovery.

Shipments of computers jumped 73.5 percent to $1.7 billion. Laptop and PC demand is slowing down, but increased data usage and data center investments led to strong demand for solid-state drives (SSDs).

Meanwhile, those of bio-health products edged down 0.7 percent to $1.4 billion due to a base effect from last year’s robust diagnostic kit sales.

Auto parts also contracted 2.2 percent to $1.8 billion as the capacity utilization rates at overseas plants have not normalized due to automotive chip shortages.

The value of Korean goods shipped to all major export destinations expanded.

Exports to China went up 27.1 percent to $15.3 billion and went up for 13 straight months. This is attributable to increased demand for chips, petrochemical products, and wireless communication devices.

Those to the EU totaled $5.3 billion, up 18.9 compared to the same period last year. Automobile, general machinery, and ship industries experienced growth.

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