South Korea’s exports raised hopes for a turnaround after a losing streak throughout the year by showing a marginal recovery in the first 10 days of September.
According to data released by the Korea Customs Service on Wednesday, the country’s exports totaled $15.0 billion in the Sept. 1-10 period, expanding 7.2 percent from the same period last year. Compared with the same period last month, exports jumped 31.1 percent. The country’s monthly exports have stayed on a downward track since December with contraction widening to double-digit from June.
Average daily exports gained 0.04 percent on year in the first 10 days of September with 0.5 more working days.
Despite the gain in exports, the Korea Customs Service warned it is still too early to tell if exports can sustain growth, adding that it plans to wait until the 20th of this month at least for more accurate result.
The growth in exports in the first 10 days of September from a year ago period was mainly led by wireless communication devices whose exports more than doubled on year thanks to the launch of new smartphone models. Outbound shipments of home appliance also soared 50.5 percent and automobiles 20.7 percent. Meanwhile, those of semiconductors – the country’s mainstay export item – plunged 33.3 percent on year and display products 56.1 percent.
By country, exports to the United States expanded 19.2 percent, Vietnam 21.7 percent, the European Union 36.9 percent, and Japan 15.2 percent. But exports to Hong Kong, under political and social unrest due to anti-government protests, plummeted 42.7 percent. Shipments to China also fell 14.5 percent and Taiwan 32.0 percent.
Imports in the first 10 days of September came at $14.1 billion, up 3.3 percent from a year ago period, to deliver a trade surplus of $868 million.
Automobile imports leaped 126.2 percent on year, crude oil 2.9 percent, and precision instruments 2.8 percent, while inbound shipments of petroleum products contracted 29.5 percent, natural gas 9.1 percent, and machinery 0.4 percent.
Imports from the U.S. rose 34.6 percent, Vietnam 39.6 percent, and China 9.8 percent over the cited period. Shipments from Japan also expanded 4.2 percent despite Tokyo’s export restriction on Seoul.
By Kim Yeon-joo and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]