South Korea`s exports got off to a good start in January, gaining 9.2 percent on year to reach $30 billion in the first 20 days of the month on strong semiconductor demand, according to the Korea Customs Service on Sunday.
Throughout 2017, exports jumped 15.8 percent to $573.9 billion, the highest annual total since the government began compiling such data in 1956.
Exports have shown healthy growth since November 2016. Given the current pace of export growth, Korea would close January with a 15-month winning streak.
Daily exports averaged $1.94 billion during the first 20 days of January, up 12.7 percent from a year earlier.
The main growth drivers were semiconductors and petroleum products, whose exports jumped 41.2 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively. Ship delivery also rose 5.5 percent in the same period.
But shipments of automobiles retreated 6.3 percent on year and mobile communication devices 5.8 percent.
By country, exports to Vietnam expanded 50.7 percent, Japan 10.8 percent, and China 10.6 percent. Shipments to the Middle East declined 15.8 percent, the European Union 12.4 percent, and the United States 6.0 percent.
Korean imports rose 14.1 percent on year to $30.1 billion, sending trade deficit to $84 million in the cited period.
Imports of semiconductor equipment surged 86.2 percent on year, crude oil 44.8 percent, and semiconductors 16.2 percent.
By Chun Jung-hong and Cho Jeehyun
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