South Korean exports increased for 12 months in a row in October but the growth pace slowed to a single digit for the first time this year as the country enjoyed its longest-ever holiday early last month.
Exports rose 7.1 percent on year to $44.98 billion in October despite 4.5 fewer working days against a year ago. But indicating the easing may be temporary, daily volume of exports surged 34 percent on year to average $2.5 billion in October thanks to near record-high shipments in electronic components, according to preliminary data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday.
Exports of seven of the country’s 13 mainstay items increased on year. Semiconductor exports soared 69.6 percent on year to $9.48 billion, its second-best monthly figure. Shipment of multi-chip packages hit a fresh high of $2.69 billion and organic light-emitting diode exports also reached a record $1.13 billion.
Exports of automobiles, machinery and textile fell as their production was affected by the break during the long holiday.
Shipment to China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam and the European Union remained strong in October. Exports to China surged 13.5 percent on year to $12.6 billion to extend double-digit gains for the third straight month. Exports to ASEAN reached $7.37 billion, marking double-digit growth for 12 consecutive months.
Exports to the U.S. fell 12 percent due to sluggish sales in automobiles and mobile devices. Korea’s trade surplus with the U.S. in the January-October period narrowed 24.9 percent on year to $14.8 billion.
Imports grew 7.4 percent to $37.7 billion over the same period to deliver a trade surplus of $7.33 billion. The country’s exports have exceeded imports for 69 months in a row.
By Ko Jae-man and Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]