South Korean exports are picking up faster than expected, with shipments in the first 10 days of February surging nearly 70 percent on year on robust demand for chips and automobiles, data showed.
According to data released by the Korea Customs Service, the country’s exports totaled $18 billion in the first 10 days of February, up 69.1 percent from the same period a year ago. Daily exports averaged $2.11 billion, up 39.3 percent from a year ago, based on 8.5 working days, 1.5 days longer than a year ago.
Korea had suffered a double digit fall in exports from March to August due to pandemic-led weak demand before a brief rebound in September. Exports, which fell 3.6 percent on year in October, turned positive in November to go up 4 percent and posted double-digit growth of 12.6 percent in December and 11.4 percent in January.
The surge in exports in the first 10 days of February was driven by strong demand for most of the country’s mainstay export items such as semiconductors, automobiles, and wireless communications devices.
Korea’s chip exports increased 57.9 percent on year in the Feb. 1-10 period, wireless communications devices 88 percent, automobiles 102.4 percent, automobile components 80.6 percent, and petrochemical products 37.5 percent.
By country, exports to China soared 65.7 percent, the United States 91.4 percent, European Union 126.1 percent, Vietnam 64.3 percent, Japan 43.5 percent, and the Middle East 29.2 percent.
Imports in the first 10 days of February also gained 71.9 percent on year to $20.4 billion, leading to a trade deficit of $2.46 billion.
Semiconductor imports gained 41.5 percent, crude oil 26.7 percent, petrochemical products 52.4 percent, gas 182.9 percent, machinery 57.4 percent, and precise devices 40.8 percent.
By country, inbound shipments from China surged 162.5 percent, the United States 45.1 percent, the Middle East 40 percent, European Union 58.7 percent, Japan, 37.8 percent, and Australia 147.3 percent.
By Lee Eun-joo
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