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South Korea Exports Rise For 6th Straight Month In March


South Korea Exports Rise For 6th Straight Month In March


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South Korea’s exports moved up for the sixth consecutive month in March on the back of the robust performance of chips, data showed Monday.

Outbound shipments gained 3.1 percent on-year to USD56.5 billion last month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports decreased 12.3 percent on-year to USD52.2 billion last month, resulting in a trade surplus of USD4.28 billion.

South Korea has been maintaining a trade surplus for 10 consecutive months.

By sector, exports of chips jumped 35.7 percent on-year in March to USD11.7 billion, growing for five consecutive months. It marked the highest amount since USD12.3 billion posted in June 2022.

The ministry attributed the growth to the rebound in memory chip prices due to supply adjustments, alongside increased demand for premium products like high bandwidth memory chips.

Exports of petroleum products climbed 3.1 percent to USD4.62 billion due to supply shortages, with those of ships more than doubling to USD2.13 billion on the back of the robust demand for container and LNG carriers.

Outbound shipments of displays also shot up 16.2 percent to USD1.42 billion on the back of the rising demand from the mobile industry.

Exports of automobiles, however, fell 5 percent to USD6.16 billion due to a base effect. Outbound shipments of cars had jumped 63.6 percent on-year in March 2023.

Shipments of batteries fell 23 percent to USD669 million as a decrease in mineral costs led to lower export prices, the ministry said.

By destination, exports to China, the top trade partner for Asia’s No. 4 economy, moved up 0.4 percent over the period to USD10.5 billion on the back of stronger demand for chip products.

Shipments to the United States also gained 11.6 percent to USD10.9 billion on the back of higher demand for premium cars, such as SUVs, rising for eight straight months.

Exports to the Southeast Asian region and the European Union fell 1.3 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, over the period.

Exports, a key economic growth engine for South Korea, rebounded in October after 13 months of an on-year decline. Outbound shipments decreased 7.4 percent on-year in 2023 amid the sluggish performance of chips coupled with global economic uncertainties.

“In the second quarter, the upward trajectory of exports, particularly in sectors, such as ships and IT products like chips, along with the robust performance of key items, such as automobiles and machinery, is set to sustain the growth momentum and surplus trend in exports,” Industry Minister Ahn Duk-geun said in a statement. (PNA)