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South Korea's exports hit new high at $55.13 billion

Staff Writer | October 2, 2017
South Korea's exports hit a new record monthly high in September as strong demand lasted for locally-made semiconductors and other key items.
South Korea's exports
Asia   Strong chip demand
Exports, which account for about half of the economy, reached a fresh high of $55.13 billion in September, up 35.0 percent from the same month of last year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

It was the largest since the relevant data began to be complied in 1956. The previous high was $51.63 billion tallied in October 2014.

A daily average exports stood at $2.35 billion last month, marking the biggest in the country's history. It was up 20.6 percent from a year ago.

The exports continued to grow for 11 straight months, keeping a double-digit gain for the ninth consecutive month.

The growth rate of 35 percent in September was the fastest since January 2011.

Imports advanced 21.7 percent from a year earlier to $41.38 billion last month, rising by a double digit for a ninth consecutive month.

The double-digit growth both in exports and imports reflected strong demand at home and abroad.

Trade surplus was $13.75 billion in September, staying in the black for 68 months in a row.

The export growth continued due to robust global demand for locally-made semiconductors that have led a double-digit export increase in recent months.

Among 13 key export items, 10 products posted a double-digit increase in overseas shipments last month.

As the global economy got into a recovery track, demand was solid both from advanced and emerging economies.

Chip exports surged 70 percent over the year to record a new monthly high of $9.69 billion in September.

It was attributable to higher DRAM chip prices and the launch of new smartphones that led to stronger demand for chips used in the mobile phones.

Steel exports reached a new monthly high of $4.67 billion, maintaining a growth trend for six straight months.

Computer shipments continued to grow for the sixth consecutive month, and display panel exports kept a growth momentum for the 11th straight month.

Exports for oil products soared 49.5 percent on higher crude oil prices and the effect from Hurricane Harvey in the United States that led to disrupted production in the United States of oil products and higher oil product prices there.

Petrochemicals shipments continued to rise for 12 months in a row amid expensive crude oil, and general machinery exports advanced 25.5 percent on recovering construction sectors in major economies such as the United States and India.

Car and textile exports logged a double-digit expansion, while ship exports jumped 38.7 percent in September after tumbling 25.8 percent in the previous month.

However, exports of telecommunication devices, including smartphones, kept a double-digit reduction last month as local manufacturers increased production in overseas factories.

Home appliances shipments continued to fall by a double-digit due to increased production in overseas plants, and auto parts exports slipped 6.4 percent on soft demand in China and the United States.

Pharmaceutical exports turned around in three months on demand for locally-developed biosimilar products in the United States and the European Union (EU).

Cosmetics exports kept rising for the fifth straight month on demand from the EU, the United States, China and Southeast Asian countries.

Except for the Middle East, South Korea's exports to all regions around the world registered a double-digit increase in exports last month.

Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members hit a record monthly high of $9.11 billion, with those to Vietnam recording a fresh high of $4.74 billion.

Overseas shipments to India stood at $1.17 billion dollars, continuing to rise for the ninth consecutive month.

Those to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, kept a growth momentum for the 11th consecutive month.

Exports to the United States and the EU kept a double-digit increase, with those to Japan rising for 11 months in a row.