Riding on a recovery in the global economy, South Korean exports jumped nearly 20 percent in July from a year ago, running at double-digit growth for seven months in a row.
According to preliminary data by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday, Korea’s exports in July surged 19.5 percent on year to $48.8 billion. The country’s exports have been expanding for the ninth consecutive month.
Imports rose 14.5 percent on year to $38.2 billion for a surplus of $10.6 billion. Korea has posted a trade surplus for 66 months in a row.
The data showed that the country’s semiconductor shipments in July soared 57.8 percent on year to $7.89 billion, its second-largest gain ever. In particular, solid-state drives, which function as replacements for hard disc drives, hit their largest-ever monthly exports at $520 million.
Over the same period, vessel exports grew a whopping 208.2% on growing demand for fuel drilling and carrying vessels amid recovery in global economy.
Petrochemical product exports rose for the tenth straight month, gaining 13.5 percent from the year-ago period.
In contrast, outbound shipments of information technology (IT) devices and home appliances dropped.
By country, shipments to China softened, adding 6.6 percent on year. Trade surplus with the U.S. declined $180 million on year to $1.66 billion from decreased exports of cars and petrochemical products along with rising imports of chip-making equipment, cars and aircraft.
While Korea’s reliance on its two key trading partners has weakened, shipments to other nations have significantly picked up.
Exports to India swelled 79.2 percent to reach a record high of $1.58 billion while those to ASEAN countries grew 31.5 percent. Combined exports to China and the U.S. accounted for 33.7 percent of the entire outbound shipments in July versus 37.7 percent a year ago.
Korea’s exports are expected to continue to grow, the trade ministry said in a statement, citing revival in global commerce and the prices of the country’s key export products.
But the government remains cautious about possible adversary effects from trade protectionism, the U.S. Federal Reserve reducing its balance sheet and a slowdown in the rise of oil prices.
By Ko Jae-man
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