South Korean exports rebounded in July to exceed the $50 billion mark for five months in a row for the first time in history thanks to brisk shipments of semiconductors and infrastructure demand in recovering developed economies as well as a cheaper Korean currency.
According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday, the country’s outbound shipments totaled $51.88 billion in July, up 6.2 percent from the same period last year. It was the second largest monthly volume, the data found.
The cumulative exports from January to July rose 6.4 percent on year to reach a record high of $349.1 billion. The average daily exports amounted to $2.22 billion over the same period, also the highest to date, according to the ministry.
The strong shipments were driven by the booming global manufacturing industry, recoveries in the U.S. and European economies that fueled demand for Korea’s mainstay intermediary products, the ministry said.
In July, shipments of petroleum products expanded 45.2 percent from a year earlier, steels 34 percent and petrochemical goods 24.1 percent. Semiconductor shipments surged 31.6 percent to $10.38 billion, exceeding $10 billion for the third consecutive month and reaching the fourth highest volume, but the growth pace has slowed from 39.0 percent in June and 44.4 percent in May to suggest tapering off in chip demand.
Overseas sales of machinery rose 18.5 percent, computers 10 percent and automobile parts 7.2 percent.
Imports gained at a faster rate of 16.2 percen to $44.88 billion in last month due to strengthening in the U.S. dollar.
Trade surplus amounted to $7.01 billion, marking the 78th straight month of surplus in trade balance.
By Seok Min-soo and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]