[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]
South Korean exports surged by the raging pace of 46 percent in May, a double-digit monthly gain unseen since August 1988, as mainstay chips, automobiles and petrochemicals rode on faster-than-expected recovery in the global economy amid vaccination progress.
According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday, the country’s outbound shipments totaled $50.73 billion in May – a monthly record and up 45.6 percent on year or the strongest since August 1988.
Exports have been strengthening for the seventh month in a row and soaring over 40 percent for two straight months for the first time. Exports had gained 41.2 percent in April.
Outbound shipments topped $50 billion despite 21 working days – three days shorter than in April. Daily exports also jumped 49 percent to $2.42 billion, reaching over $2.4 billion for the first time since 2018.
The staggering exports were led by mainstay export items including semiconductors and automobiles. Of the 15 key export items, 12 showed double-digit growth.
Semiconductor shipments jumped 24.5 percent in May from a year ago, extending gain for an eleventh straight month, and topping $10 billion for the first time since 2018.
Exports of automobiles soared 93.7 percent on year in May, marking the fastest growth in nearly 15 years. Outbound shipments of petrochemical products leapt 94.9 percent and petroleum products 164.1 percent.
Vessel exports fell in May, although the drop is less related to this year’s bulging order book as they are based on orders from two to three years ago.
Exports roared in all nine regions – China 22.7 percent, the United States 62.8 percent, European Union 62.8 percent, Association of Southeast Asian Nations 64.3 percent, Japan 32.1 percent, Central and South America 119.3 percent, India 152.1 percent, the Middle East 4.6 percent, and Commonwealth of Independent States 36.5 percent.
Imports rose 37.9 percent on year to $47.81 billion in May, leading to a 13th consecutive trade surplus of $2.93 billion.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]